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For Immediate Release 

River Forest, IL — The Oak Park Reparations Task Force in partnership with Dominican University in River Forest will host a series of open forums to gather feedback from citizens on reparations for local Black Americans.

Focus groups, geared toward Black residents of Oak Park, will take place Tuesday, May 24 and Thursday, May 26 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Oak Park Public Library, 834 Lake St.

A Wednesday, May 25 session will take place virtually.

To register for an in-person or virtual focus group, visit

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 students and faculty from Dominican University. A Reparative Justice Report with recommendations will follow.

“The idea of reparative justice is something that honors Dominican’s history with social justice and who we are now in our commitment to anti-racism,” said Jacob Bucher, founding dean of Dominican University’s College of Applied Social Sciences, explaining the university’s interest in taking part in the project. “The task force is doing the heavy lifting and we are playing our part as a higher learning institution to contribute our research capacity to support community and social impact.”

The citizen-led Oak Park Reparations Task Force consists of 12 Black Oak Park residents who are studying the possibility of reparations for Black residents and the type of reparations that may be proposed. The goal of the group is to provide recommendations to Oak Park taxing bodies, residents, and religious, nonprofit and for-profit institutions on ways to repair harm caused to the Black community due to decades of discriminatory laws and practices.

The purpose of the focus groups is to gather input on what residents know about reparations, if they believe reparations should be offered to Black Oak Park residents, and what form they might take.

The city of Evanston, for example, approved a program in 2021 that provides eligible applicants up to $25,000 to be used toward the purchase of a home, home renovations or mortgage assistance.

Attendees of the Oak Park focus groups will also be asked to discuss personal experiences with racism, any barriers to home ownership or renting they have faced in Oak Park, and what the village does well and could improve upon when it comes to racial equity, among other questions.

Preliminary feedback has indicated that accessible funding for education is an interest of many residents, said Christian Harris, a leader of the Oak Park Reparations Task Force.


About Dominican University 

Founded in 1901, Dominican University is a comprehensive, coeducational Catholic institution offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees through the Rosary College of Arts and Sciences, the Borra College of Health Sciences, the Brennan School of Business and the College of Applied Social Sciences. The university also offers a doctoral degree in information studies. U.S. News & World Report ranks Dominican University #10 of all Midwest regional master’s level universities, the best value in the Chicago area and #1 in Illinois for ensuring the social mobility of its graduates.