A local task force dedicated to studying possible reparations for Black Americans will hold a series of open forums in Oak Park this week to gather feedback ahead of a reparations report that is currently in the works.

The Oak Park Reparations Task Force is partnering with the Dominican University of River Forest to host three forums designed to get feedback from community members on the reparations.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, reparations “the repair of a wrong done, by paying money or otherwise assisting those who have been wronged”. The term can also refer to “war damage compensation paid by a defeated state”.

Two focus groups, for Black residents of Oak Park, will be held on Tuesday, May 24 and Thursday, May 26, both from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the Oak Park Public Library, 834 Lake Street.

A virtual forum will take place on Wednesday 25 May. To register for in-person or virtual sessions, visit: https://bit.ly/oprf.

“Feedback from the focus groups will be used to create a survey of Black Oak Park residents that will be conducted and evaluated by a mix of Dominican University students and faculty,” according to a statement released by the task force. and the Dominican University. “A report on restorative justice with recommendations will follow.”

Jacob Bucher, the founding dean of the College of Applied Social Sciences at Dominican University, said restorative justice reflects the current mission of the university.

“The task force does the heavy lifting and we play our part as a higher education institution to contribute our research capacity to support community and social impact,” he said.

The Oak Park Reparations Task Force includes 12 Black Oak Park residents who are studying the “possibility of reparations for black residents and the type of reparations that may be offered,” according to the release.

“The purpose of the group is to provide recommendations to Oak Park tax agencies, residents, and religious, non-profit and for-profit institutions on ways to repair the damage done to the black community due to decades discriminatory laws and practices.

“The purpose of the focus groups is to gather information about what residents know about reparations, whether they think reparations should be offered to Black Oak Park residents, and what form it might take.”

Last year, task force members pointed out in the statement, Evanston launched a local repairs program that gives eligible applicants up to $25,000 toward home purchases, home renovations or a mortgage assistance.

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