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On the eve of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I wanted to take this opportunity to address recent acts of hate, racism and bigotry in our community. Over the last week, many of us have been deeply disturbed by acts of vandalism, threats, and hateful words directed towards elected officials, candidates, administrators, and others. Tonight, I want to make it clear that these heinous actions have absolutely no place in Evanston.

Evanston is a welcoming city. We are a city made stronger by our diversity. We are a city that celebrates our differences.

While I cannot tell you that we are a city entirely free from hate, I can tell you that we are a city where hate is not tolerated. When we encounter hateful actions – whether motivated by differences in race, age, gender, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation – we will call them out. And when these actions are reported, our police department will conduct a full and thorough investigation to identify those involved in criminal activity, as they are doing in the case of these recent incidents.

As much as these despicable acts do not reflect the character and spirit of our city, our collective response to them does. And what I have seen in the days following these incidents is an outpouring of love, support and unity that should make us all proud to live here.

Dr. King said, “We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.”

Here in Evanston, no one walks alone, and our progress never stops. As we prepare to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King on Monday, let us reflect on the strength and beauty of our diverse city, and continue together on a path towards peace and justice for all.