Founder and Executive Director, FirstRepair
Robin Rue Simmons is the Founder and Executive Director of FirstRepair, a not-for-profit organization that informs local reparations, nationally. She serves as the chairperson of the City of Evanston’s Reparations Committee. Rue Simmons is the former 5th Ward Alderman for the City of Evanston, IL, where she led, in collaboration with others, the passage of the nation’s first municipally-funded reparations legislation for Black residents, which began disbursements in January 2022. As an entrepreneur, she launched and operated multiple businesses, including a bookstore in the 5th Ward, that also offered free afterschool programming, and a construction company in Evanston that employed Black tradespeople, developing dozens of affordable houses funded by the Illinois Neighborhood Stabilization Program. She continues to manage a handful of residential and commercial properties that she owns in Evanston. Most recently, Rue Simmons was the Director of Innovation and Outreach for Sunshine Enterprises, a not-for-profit on Chicago’s South Side, which has supported over one thousand entrepreneurs (virtually all African American and three-quarters women) in launching or growing their businesses.