Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

If you’ve been waiting for the right time to support our work—that time is now.

Our mission is simple: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

But without the support of our readers, this model does not work and we simply won’t survive. It’s that simple.
We must meet our Mid-Year Campaign goal but we need you now.

Please, support independent journalism today.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Actor and activist Danny Glover promoted a new 3 percent tax on marijuana sales that will be used as a form of reparations to lift up the Chicago suburb’s black residents. (Photo: Craig Finlay/Flickr/cc)

Danny Glover Supports Landmark Reparations Fund in Chicago Suburb

The Hollywood actor spoke at an Evanston town hall in support of a new policy to use revenue from marijuana legalization to narrow racial economic gaps.

Sarah AndersonSanho Tree


Earlier this year, the actor Danny Glover joined author Ta-Nehisi Coates for a Capitol Hill hearing on slavery reparations. That was a historic milestone in the fight for a federal commission to study how America could best make amends for slavery.

But as is the case on so many issues, local officials are far ahead of Washington politicians on reparations.

And so Glover was eager to testify on reparations again this week — this time in support of a municipal policy that’s actually about to go into force.

In front of an overflowing crowd in Evanston, Illinois, Glover lent his star power to promote a new 3 percent tax on marijuana sales that will be used as a form of reparations to lift up the Chicago suburb’s black residents.

“This is the most intense conversation, I believe, that we’re going to have in the 21st century, right here — reparations,” Glover told the audience. He described the town’s reparations fund as “a remarkable step.”

Evanston’s innovative policy became possible after the Illinois state legislature legalized recreational marijuana this past June. The state was not the first to take this step — it follows 10 other states and the District of Columbia (along with U.S. territories of Guam and the Northern Marianas Islands)

But Illinois was the first state where legalization resulted from a legislative process rather than through a direct ballot initiative. Earlier states had to use direct voter initiatives since politicians were too frightened to stick their necks out on this issue, for fear they’d appear “soft on drugs.”

By going the legislative route, Illinois lawmakers were able to put more thought into how to use legalization to address the racist impacts of cannabis criminalization, under which African Americans have been much more heavily policed, prosecuted, convicted, and imprisoned than whites. The state law (which mirrors cities like Boston, Oakland, and Portland) includes a program for Social Equity Applicants so that communities historically hardest hit by criminalization would have a chance to participate in and profit from the legal cannabis industry.

In Evanston, where a local government study documented disproportionately high marijuana arrest rates for African Americans, city council members decided to go further to ensure that black residents benefited from legalization.

In November, the council overwhelmingly voted to become the first jurisdiction to use local taxes on marijuana sales for a reparations fund to combat the legacy of slavery. While local officials are still hammering out the details of how the funds will be allocated, the aim is to help black residents afford to stay in Evanston (gentrification has already cut their share of the population from 22.5 percent in 2000 to 16.9 percent in 2017) while also funding job training and other initiatives. The funds will amount to $10 million over a decade.

In a similar move, Brookline, Massachusetts approved a plan on December 12 to funnel revenue from marijuana sales into an Economic-Equity Advancement Fund.

Glover’s appearance at the December 11 Evanston townhall came about as part of his involvement with the National African American Reparations Commission, a group of distinguished leaders committed to reparatory justice. He also takes time away from his Hollywood career to serve on several boards of social justice organizations, including the Institute for Policy Studies, and support human rights causes around the world.

For their leadership on reparations, Glover said the Evanston city council and grassroots advocates “will be remembered, as they stood up in the face of condemnation, for not only their own humanity, but the humanity of all people.”

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.
Sanho Tree

Sanho Tree

Sanho Tree is a fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies, a community of scholars and organizers linking peace, justice, and the environment in the U.S. and globally.

"I'm sure this will be all over the corporate media, right?"
That’s what one longtime Common Dreams reader said yesterday after the newsroom reported on new research showing how corporate price gouging surged to a nearly 70-year high in 2021. While major broadcasters, newspapers, and other outlets continue to carry water for their corporate advertisers when they report on issues like inflation, economic inequality, and the climate emergency, our independence empowers us to provide you stories and perspectives that powerful interests don’t want you to have. But this independence is only possible because of support from readers like you. You make the difference. If our support dries up, so will we. Our crucial Mid-Year Campaign is now underway and we are in emergency mode to make sure we raise the necessary funds so that every day we can bring you the stories that corporate, for-profit outlets ignore and neglect. Please, if you can, support Common Dreams today.


80+ US Prosecutors Vow Not to Be Part of Criminalizing Abortion Care

"Criminalizing and prosecuting individuals who seek or provide abortion care makes a mockery of justice," says a joint statement signed by 84 elected attorneys. "Prosecutors should not be part of that."

Kenny Stancil ·

Progressives Rebuke Dem Leadership as Clyburn Dismisses Death of Roe as 'Anticlimactic'

"The gap between the Democratic leadership, and younger progressives on the question of 'How Bad Is It?' is just enormous."

Julia Conley ·

In 10 Key US Senate Races, Here's How Top Candidates Responded to Roe Ruling

While Republicans unanimously welcomed the Supreme Court's rollback of half a century of reproductive rights, one Democrat said "it's just wrong that my granddaughter will have fewer freedoms than my grandmother did."

Brett Wilkins ·

Sanders Says End Filibuster to Combat 'Outrageous' Supreme Court Assault on Abortion Rights

"If Republicans can end the filibuster to install right-wing judges to overturn Roe v. Wade, Democrats can and must end the filibuster, codify Roe v. Wade, and make abortion legal and safe," said the Vermont senator.

Jake Johnson ·

Patients in Trigger-Ban States Immediately Denied Abortion Care in Post-Roe US

Some people scheduled to receive abortions were turned away within minutes of the right-wing Supreme Court's decision to strike down Roe v. Wade.

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo