The state of Illinois’ reparations commission, known as the African Descent-Citizens Reparations Commission, is hard at work on a daunting mission.
The group is tasked with researching, holding hearings and reporting to the General Assembly on reparations for African-American descendants of slavery; educating the public about reparations; recommending how to preserve African American neighborhoods, including building a vocational Training center and ensuring proportional representation in all state contracts.
State Rep. Sonya Harper (D-Chicago) thinks the conversation about reparations for descendants has come a long way over the last 10 years. Many municipalities around the country have task forces and commissions looking into reparations.
California has issued a comprehensive report on righting the wrongs of the past. Now, the Illinois commission is taking a hard look at the California task forces’s work.
“Currently the commission is already utilizing some of the framework set out by the California task force,” said Marvin Slaughter, the commission’s chair.
As for funding sources for reparations, “It’s still too early to say,” said Harper, especially since the commission has only just begun the work. “We’re going to find money to fund reparations the same way that we do to fund everything else.”
The reparations commission is trying to get the word out at some Juneteenth celebrations. Here are a few events that residents can find out more about the commission, which has eight vacant positions:
- Chicago Defender Men of Excellence Award Ceremony - Friday, June 16, at Tinley Park Convention Center, 18451 Convention Center Drive, Tinley Park
- “1619: The Journey of a People, The Musical” - Monday, June 19, at University of Chicago Logan Center for the Arts , 915 E. 60th St., Chicago
- Homewood-Flossmoor Juneteenth Festival - Saturday, June 17, at Homewood-Flossmoor High School, 999 Kedzie Ave., Flossmoor