Racial justice has been incredibly important to our campaign and many Evanstonians. Sebastian believes that we cannot begin to talk about any issues in Evanston without talking about their racial impacts. By understanding the historical ramifications of policies and programs that have been in place for decades, we can better provide services to all residents.
Evanston's residents of color have seen increased displacement due to actions by the city that have caused an increase in gentrification. Evanston's Black population has decreased from 23% to 18% since 2000. Our mixed income housing packet works to equitably increase affordable units in Evanston. Click here to view our packet.
The Evanston reparations program became the first of its kind in the nation, and it attempted to tackle these gentrification issues by focusing on providing home ownership assistance to qualifying families. However, black residents have felt that the program has lacked community input and should be expanded to ensure residents who don't have a home will receive benefits. Sebastian is pushing for an increase in options for residents to choose from: home ownership assistance, entrepreneurship grants, tuition assistance, direct stipends, etc. Residents should be able to choose their reparations, not the city.
There are smaller programs in Evanston that have negatively impacted minoritized communities in Evanston; one of which is beach tokens. Beach tokens were created in 1931 with the intent of keeping people of color and low income families from using the beaches. Evanston's beach tokens still have that same effect today. We will push for free beach tokens for Evanston residents, which will allow any resident no matter their economic status to use the beaches when open. Nonresidents can purchase beach tokens to use the beaches similarly to Evanston residents.
Evanston is one of the most overpoliced cities in Illinois. The workload of the police should be shifted to other public entities which would allow the EPD to be reduced in size. With funding for EPD reduced, funds can go toward a social worker call center and other preventative crime measures such as community and school programs.
Sebastian will also work with community leaders and advocacy groups to participate in community activities that aim to promote racial justice as well as combating issues such as gang and gun violence. The following packet will layout police reform and social service programs.