Settling in for the screening of “Inside Out” at Penny Park.

Coming together as a community and enjoying the evening seemed to be the theme for this year’s National Night Out celebrations, held in several places across the City Aug. 2. By 7 p.m. a crowd was gathering in Penny Park; children played, adults conversed, and people found places on the lawn to enjoy the movie “Inside Out,” which began at dusk.

In the parking lot at Church Street and Dodge Avenue, face-painting, bean-bag toss and jump-rope, music, dance, speeches, food, and the traditional candlelight vigil drew a large crowd. Several block clubs also held gatherings, as did the animal shelter on Oakton Street.

With the assistance of Library personnel, youngsters made paper airplanes and created marshmallow-and-toothpick structures in front of the Main Library.

National Night Out is an anti-crime celebration of neighbors, and police officers attended the events.

The Library used the occasion to circulate excerpts from a letter in which Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl encouraged community members to share their views, either with her or through conversations with friends and neighbors, on the state of race relations in Evanston and what could be done to improve them.

Here are the questions she asked: 1) How would you describe the overall state of race relations in our community? 2) What are some of the underlying conditions affecting race relations in our community? 3) What things have you seen that give you hope for improved race relations? 4) What are some steps we could take to improve race relations in our neighborhood? In our organizations? In our schools? In our community? 5) What is each of us personally willing to do to make
a difference?

The Mayor said people can contact her at 847-866-2979 or