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I hope he gives the Black people as much as the immigrant people.

Hey easy! Take a deep breath. You can certainly get free money even if your white, you just need to pursue a career in politics or become a lobbyist. It's part of the racial equity and inclusion program that's not advertised.

Johnson names chief equity officer, gets moving on reparations

Chicago hasn’t had a chief equity officer since Candace Moore left in December. Her successor, Carla Kupe, could play a fundamental role in determining what reparations look like in Chicago.

By Fran Spielman, Suntimes

Jun 17, 2024

Chicago has been without a chief equity officer since the December 2023 departure of Candace Moore, the first person to hold that post, which was created in 2019 by Mayor Lori Lightfoot.Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Mayor Brandon Johnson has finally named his own chief equity officer and begun moving forward with a $500,000 task force on reparations he announced last year.

His pick is Carla Kupe, previously the first-ever director of diversity, equity, inclusion and compliance for the city’s inspector general. She’s the co-founder of a law firm owned and operated by Black women. She’s also the founder and CEO of a “consulting enterprise focused on diversity, equity inclusion and anti-racism colonialism.”

Kupe was introduced to the crowd attending the raising of the Juneteenth flag at Daley Plaza on Monday.

In his remarks at that ceremony, Johnson made a show of signing an executive order establishing the reparations task force that was supposed to have started its work on Jan. 1, thanks to a $500,000 appropriation included in his $16.77 billion 2024 budget.

Chicago has been without a chief equity officer since the December 2023 departure of Candace Moore, the first person to hold that post, which was created in 2019 by Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

Kupe is likely to play a fundamental role in determining what reparations will look like in Chicago. Kupe told the Daley Plaza crowd she has “seen firsthand the challenges the city faces” and the “power of government and community to collectively” devise solutions that create a “more just and inclusive Chicago.”

At the Office of Inspector General, Kupe said she helped to create “27 racial equity action plans for city departments.” One plan paved the way for the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events to commit $6 million to community artists, she said.

“It’s as much about transforming systems as it is about healing and reckoning with our complex past,” said Kupe, the daughter of Congolese immigrants.

The Juneteenth holiday on Wednesday commemorates the emancipation of all enslaved people in the United States. It’s a “celebration of freedom” and progress and a “reminder of the ongoing struggle,” Kupe said. “It’s important to continue to dismantle systemic injustice even though the journey continues.”

Johnson told the Daley Center crowd he was “committed to driving reparations home” in Chicago.

“It is now the time to deliver good on reparations for the people of Chicago, particularly Black people,” Johnson said, though he didn’t say what form reparations would take or how the city would pay for it.

“The legacy of slavery — the aftermath, still echoes today. We saw it when previous administrations sold off public assets. We saw the harm when previous administrations closed Black schools, and they shut down public housing. When they raided the pensions. These anti-Black, anti-business endeavors ... have caused tremendous harm and pain.”

Chicago aldermen urged to get moving on slavery reparations

Reparations will “unlock the doors of prosperity to fully flow through the neighborhoods that have been disinvested in for decades,” Johnson said. “The very institutions in which we represent today have harmed Black people. And so, on behalf of the city of Chicago, I apologize for the historic wrongs committed against Black people in Chicago. 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.”

Johnson closed by saying, “God bless the Blackest city in the world.”

A follow-up news release issued by the mayor’s office said the reparations task force will “create a definition and framework” for reparations; identify “core issues for redress and reparative actions": conduct a sweeping study of “all policies that have harmed Black Chicagoans from the slavery era to the present day” and “make a series of recommendations that will serve as appropriate remedies and restitution for past injustices and present harm.”

“Today’s executive order is not just a public declaration. It is a pledge to shape the future of our city by confronting the legacy of inequity that has plagued Chicago for far too long,” the mayor was quoted as saying.

The City Council has had a reparations subcommittee since 2020. Precious little progress was made during Lightfoot’s single term.

Former Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th), who chaired the Health and Human Services committee that created the reparations subcommittee, was asked to explain the snail’s pace of progress after a June 2022 hearing on the issue.

“The mayor is not as supportive as I would have hoped. A lot of us are willing to go further. But there’s been some recalcitrance by an administration that does not think this is the way to go,” Sawyer said on that day.

“I keep pushing. I’ve been pushing on this for years. I’m gonna continue to make this an issue. If we do this correctly, we will see a corresponding drop in criminal activity and also health outcomes and other things that we’re experiencing in the Black community.”

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