Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson announces reparations task force

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson announced an executive order Monday to establish a reparations task force and agenda aimed at addressing historical injustices against the African American community.

The task force will develop a definition and framework for reparations, identifying areas for restorative action such as housing, education, jobs, and criminal justice. It is also responsible for conducting a comprehensive study to catalog policies that have harmed African Americans in Chicago, including controversial real estate practices like redlining and restrictive covenants.

Johnson made the announcement during a Juneteenth flag-raising ceremony at Daley Plaza.

"Reparations will be an investment in our neighborhoods and our people," Johnson said. "It will unlock the doors of prosperity to fully flow through the neighborhoods that have been disinvested in for days...we must never forget our goal to make sure reparations become a reality for Black residents of this city."

The current year’s city budget allocates $500,000 to fund the task force. However, 38th Ward Alderman Nick Sposato, a frequent critic of the mayor, expressed skepticism, suggesting the money could be better spent elsewhere and raising concerns about eligibility and funding sources for reparations.

"It's too divisive, it's gonna divide us even more," Sposato said. "I don't know what the fairness about it would be. Maybe the report will say it's unnecessary, but I highly doubt that."

The City Council’s Black Caucus will also participate in the task force hearings and recommendations. 16th Ward Alderwoman Stephanie Coleman hailed the initiative as a significant step forward.

"I am thankful to the Johnson Administration for its continued support and commitment to addressing the deep wounds inflicted by centuries of injustice against the Black community," Coleman said. "We will not be ashamed of who we are, and what we have overcome."