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October 20, 2017

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Posted: Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Community forum entry by: Nick Korzeniowski

Governance Over Politics
My sincere congratulations to our newest member of the District 65 School Board, Rebeca Mendoza, and may she accomplish a great deal in her tenure.
Of course, I am disappointed to not fill the recently vacated seat myself, as the remaining unseated Board candidate in the outcome of this April’s election, though I welcomed the second opportunity to be considered. My demonstrated experience with the issues at hand – as well as the expressed confidence of over 8,300 voters this spring – presented a strong candidacy, yet, sadly, the votes were again not in my favor.
Despite the outcome of these contests, I am heartened by the large pool of competition. Our neighbors’ widespread interest in public service reaffirms my family’s decision to plant roots in this civic-minded community. This was further evidenced by the overwhelming support for our crucial referendum effort this spring the more people participating in our democratic system, the better for us all.
Perhaps one benefit to the turbulence of our national politics it that it has forced us to become more-aware citizens, provoking us to define what exactly we expect from our elected officials, or possibly inspiring us to identify ways we, as individuals, may better engage with our communities. I was compelled to seek election due to my professional expertise working with technology systems as applied to public schools, and my interests as a young Evanston parent.
Unequivocally, we expect every public servant to be motivated by a similar desire to meaningfully contribute, and such service deserves respect. However, it is a respect that must be earned. In navigating myriad views, ideals, and opinions as to the best way forward, leaders must never allow their differences to contravene the best interests of our communities. Failure to adhere to these standards derails government’s effectiveness, and diminishes the faith of the public.
The onus is upon us, the citizens, to hold leaders accountable to our expectations of effective representation. We must demand respect for elected office. We must reject subversive politics and gamesmanship that muddy the integrity of our institutions. We must reward and elevate leaders who best embody those ethics.
As good public servants and community leaders, I trust the newly-complete District 65 School Board will rightly leave their campaign personas on the trail and unite as one successful governing entity. By embodying the good governance we seek, together, we can each help create a more perfect union.



Posted: Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Community forum entry by: Tom McRaith

Losing Our Charm
It’s noticeable how interested builders are about building high-rises in Evanston.
As a resident for 60 years, I’ve always thought of Evanston as a college town – until recent years. Now, with the tall buildings we’ve already built, it’s lost that flower.
I’m not the only one who thinks so. The Chicago Tribune just issued a supplement titled Fall Travel. In it you’re see an article, “Go to School.” The author refers to “charming college towns” and mentions Madison, Iowa City, Columbia, Bloomington, and in particular, Ann Arbor. Evanston did not make the list.
Could high-rise buildings be part of our loss of charm?



Posted: Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Community forum entry by: Jerilyn Elise Miripol

Bless the Seers
I sought seers
At their lecterns
I sought books
For my tutelage
I love and bless the tutors
Who share knowledge
And reverie--
Psychology, literature,
Present-day history, primitive art and Impressionists
As I connect with all humans,
Especially the disenfranchised –
People of color – my brothers and sisters
The people without sanity,
The impaired,
Those in crisis
I am a gentle force,
Like the tree,
Flowering
In the dawn,
To beautify
Its essence.



Posted: Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Community forum entry by: Susan Stocker and Joseph Swartz

Favors the Albion Project
We attended the Aug. 9 Plan Commission meeting, as we received a notice that the proposed project would be built within 1,000 feet of our home. We have been Evanston residents since moving here in 2001.
Our feeling is that the Albion Residential team presented a very well developed and comprehensive building plan. The team demonstrated they had done their homework and gave thorough explanations to the many comments and questions. Albion is asking for zoning allowance, and we believe they presented rational and research-based justification for their request.
To us, this approach appears to be a win-win solution to an area that may become a strip of abandoned businesses/buildings that have already closed or are in danger of closing soon, based on some of the speakers’ comments.
This area of Sherman Avenue is somewhat quieter than the Chicago Avenue and Emerson Street apartments. The building design, landscaping, and small park would be a lovely, welcoming area for both residences and businesses. As empty-nesters, we are eager to see these apartments come to life as a potential future home for us.
While we are not familiar with the “organically formed group” objecting to the Albion project, we’ve followed other proposals (via the Evanston RoundTable) and are usually somewhat confused by the comments, arguments, and sometimes hostility expressed against ideas that might seem to benefit the City.
We ask that the Plan Commission be open to further dialogue and work with Albion’s team to address any issues that might appear truly inappropriate for Evanston.



Posted: Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Community forum entry by: Abdel Shakur

Parents for All Peoples’ History
Although it was shocking to see neo-Nazis violently defend a Confederate monument in Charlottesville, VA, I was similarly shocked last May when I discovered that my daughter’s school, a school that I love, a school named after Martin Luther King, Jr. no less, was putting on an event called “Pioneer Days.” This is an event where black and brown children, children whose ancestors may have been enslaved and killed by those same pioneers, are asked to crawl inside the mind of a white supremacist and somehow see themselves as they square dance and pan for gold. Unfortunately, this event takes place across the district. It’s sad that this is also business as usual in our community, a community that despite its bumper stickers and yard signs offers educational opportunity to African-American students nearly four grade levels behind their white peers. The Eurocentric focus of our District 65 current social studies curriculum is an unacceptable artifact of that opportunity gap.
The battle in Charlottesville was about tearing down a white supremacist monument, but these types of monuments are being erected in the minds of our children, every day in this district. History should help young people understand the past, but more importantly what is to come next, the new day we can’t imagine. Offering pioneers and Pilgrims as a foundational framework is to miseducate students, to leave all of our children unprepared to live in a future beyond white supremacy. Donald Trump is a product of that paradigm.
I’m part of a group called Parents for All Peoples’ History. We believe that the D65 Social Studies curriculum should be culturally relevant and inspire critical thinking in all its students. It should prepare our children for a world beyond white supremacy by not relying on a Eurocentric point of view. Instead, it should present a range of perspectives with a focus on justice, empathy, and racial equity.
Several months ago we started organizing with other concerned parents around the district, collecting stories about the harm being done to our children, and talking to administrators. We understand that the Social Studies curriculum is not slated for revision until 2019-2020, but we feel this is one of the most urgent concerns our community faces, and it can’t wait. We need everyone to get involved and help us tear down these monuments to white supremacy in our classrooms.



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