April 18, 2022
In 2021, Evanston became the first city in the United States to fund a reparations program—a meaningful step toward restitution for Black residents—both past and present—based on the documented wrongs and accumulated losses incurred by generations of segregation and racism.
It is in this historic context that members of Beth Emet seek to collectively participate in teshuva by inviting congregants to engage in the process of reparations. By making contributions to the Evanston Reparations Community Fund (ERCF), we join in an unprecedented community-wide interfaith campaign to raise funds from at least 15 local congregations to collectively assure the availability of reparations to Black Evanstonians and in so doing acknowledging harms caused by generations of racism. Our campaign will culminate on Martin Luther King Day 2023 at which time faith leaders from across the city will announce and celebrate the results of our shared effort.
Read more about the Teshuva Campaign. Review “In Support of Reparations”, a document drafted by Beth Emet members participating in the Social Action Committee’s Reparations Working Group.
While our community has long supported racial justice movements and causes, we have yet to make amends for the racism and oppression Black people have suffered. The funds we contribute under reparations are a means to acknowledge past wrongdoing and attempt to reverse its effects in the present, even if we know we cannot reverse all the harm that has been done. Pastor Michael Nabors of Evanston’s Second Baptist Church has described the process of reparations as “a thousand-mile journey.” Contributing financially to sustain reparations in our community is a meaningful first step.
Learn more about Evanston Reparations as well as the Jewish case for Reparations:
Why is Beth Emet involved in reparations?
In 2019, the City of Evanston became the first municipality in the country to legislate reparations for its Black citizens leading other municipalities from around the country to consider following their lead. As a major religious institution based in Evanston with a long history of supporting social justice, it is appropriate for members of our congregation to take a stand in support of reparations.
Rabbi London explains, “Since our founding, Beth Emet has been engaged in fighting for civil rights and has been a leader in the Evanston community speaking out against hatred, discrimination, and bigotry of any kind. Working to create a more just and compassionate society is core to who we are as a congregation.”