Chicago mayor signs landmark executive order to create reparations task force

Chicago, Illinois - Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson signed an executive order on Monday paving the way for the establishment of a local reparations task force.

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson has signed an executive order to create a local reparations task force.
Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson has signed an executive order to create a local reparations task force.  © SCOTT OLSON / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

"As a Black man, and as the leader of a major U.S. city, I have a responsibility to set the tone on how we rectify decades of neglect," Johnson wrote on X.

"Today's Executive Order on the Black Reparations Agenda is a pledge to confront Chicago's legacy of inequity."

Johnson's announcement came just two days before Juneteenth, a holiday commemorating the end of American chattel enslavement.

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The task force will examine and craft a plan to address harms Black communities are facing due to local laws and policies enacted from the enslavement era through the present day.

Johnson is due to work with the Chicago Aldermanic Black Caucus to select members of the task force. Once it is established, the panel will have a year to complete its work.

Chicago's 2024 budget earmarked $500,000 for the study and creation of a reparations plan.

Chicago's reparations task force to address generations of injustice

"Reparations will be an investment in our neighborhoods and our people," Johnson said at a Juneteenth flag-raising ceremony, noting that his family was part of the Great Migration.

Chicago had served a beacon for many Black people in the South who were suffering under severe Jim Crow apartheid. Today, the city is around 30% Black, according to Census data.

"On behalf of the City of Chicago, we apologize not just on behalf of Black folks who have been harmed, but their ancestors who never saw this day," the mayor said

"For those of us who are descendants of slaves, we recognize this moment as an opportunity to fully express what liberation is really about."

Cover photo: SCOTT OLSON / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

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