Letter of the NAACP dated Oct. 7, 2020

We, the Evanston/North Shore National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, various houses of worship, and community residents are in full support of Dr. Devon Horton and his administration and the District 65 School Board under the leadership of President Anya Tanyavutti. We have been both disheartened and chagrined by negative, threatening and baseless critiques aimed at Dr. Horton and District 65 regarding equity initiatives and outreach to our inclusive, interracial and multicultural community. In an effort to ensure equity for Black and brown students, for special education students, and LGBTQ students, Dr. Horton has offered first priority of seats for in-person learning.

We are aware of the disturbing and distressing statistics related to ongoing struggles that these students undergo, both locally and nationally. We are proud that Evanston became the first town in the nation to endorse and implement a Reparations program for Black residents. We are proud that valuable institutions like the Evanston Community Foundation, the McGaw YMCA,and AMITA St. Francis, are all led by immensely qualified and gifted Black CEO’s. While we have not arrived at a place where we can call Evanston a “Beloved Community” for everyone, many of us believe we are well on the way. In an article in the Wall Street Journal today, the authors wrote “Advocates in Evanston are demanding that Americans choose sides: Are you racist or antiracist?” It is an interesting statement and we are not sure who the journalists were quoting. But for us, it is not a matter of choosing sides, which makes fighting racism sound like a fair battle and may the best side win. No.

Racism, injustice and inequities are deeply moral issues that have been tearing the very fabric of America, for four hundred and one years. It is no longer a matter of choosing sides and truthfully, it never was. Rather, it is a matter of believing that truth is more powerful than lies, right is stronger than wrong, and equality is greater than inequality. Dr. Devon Horton has worked with dozens of community leaders, since the moment he arrived in Evanston this summer. In addition, he has reached out to different organizations and houses of worship in an effort to share each step and initiative for moving forward. With a nation that seems to be moving backwards when it comes to race relations, it is good to know that District 65 in Evanston is moving full force, forward. 

We have a word for those anonymous residents and non-residents who have been sending death threats to Black and brown administrators and educators in District 65. We are here today to confront your hatred with justice, to confront your threats with equality, to confront your biases with a unity that is a multiplicity of multicultural, interfaith, multiracial and intergenerational community. We are the vast majority of the Evanston community. We believe that while we may not have it all together, together we have it all. And thus, we are confident that our support of District 65 and its leadership, will send an important signal throughout our town-from east of Sheridan to West of Sheridan, from Howard Street to Central Avenue, from the first ward to the fifth ward, hate has no home in our town. Racism will find no bed or pillow upon which it can rest from its awful evil. We fully support our LatinX and LGBTQ brothers and sisters in Evanston. We are one family. We are one people. We are Evanston strong!

And we will not start and end our support with this letter. We commit ourselves to working with District 65 to carry out long overdue initiatives that will bring justice to all of our children, teachers, staff and administrators.

Signed by,

Dr. Michael Nabors

President-Evanston/North Shore NAACP