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The Board of Education of Evanston Township High School District 202 stands with the Board of Education of District 65 to denounce racist and hateful incidents in our community. District 65 Board of Education members and administration have been receiving threats and hate mail for several months. Recently, we were informed that Biz Lindsay-Ryan, the Vice President of District 65 has experienced a terrorizing personal attack. Following is her account of an incident:
“This weekend I was the target of a hate crime. The motive of the perpetrator was clear – my car and personal belongings ransacked along with a message of homophobic hate language prominently displayed. There was nothing stolen – this wasn’t a burglary. It was the intent to terrorize. While this experience was both heartbreaking and terrifying for my family, it is a result of white supremacy colluding with misogyny and homophobia to inflict the most harm possible. While homophobia was utilized in an attempt to silence me, it is not working in isolation, it is part of a greater collaboration to derail my commitment to racial equity. I feel compelled to join Board leadership in issuing a message to our community that offers important context for this occurrence.”
In addition to this incident, a candidate for a local aldermanic position was threatened last weekend as a part of a public community forum.
At ETHS, someone posted a racist comment in the chat of a zoom session while we were offering to our winter student-athletes and coaches a meaningful workshop about mental health.
We are disheartened that these events are occurring in our community. For members of the D65 School Board as well as their administration and a candidate for alderman to be subjected to this level of hate is outrageous. Additionally, for our ETHS coaches and student athletes to experience such vile racial slurs during a zoom meeting is intolerable. It would be naïve and irresponsible for us to assume that these events are happening more frequently in other communities than in Evanston. These are happening locally, and we can anticipate an escalation in the expression of the white supremacist rage that we see in our nation and yes, in our community. The attacks on the U.S. Capitol and the threats we now have regarding more armed protests in all 50 states to come, have put us all on edge. After seeing the violent mob seeking to overturn President Trump’s election loss push through police barricades to storm the U.S. Capitol, it is clear that the unthinkable could happen.
At ETHS, we will continue our commitment to equity/antiracist work. As we have stated in our first goal, we recognize that “racism is the most devastating factor contributing to the diminished achievement of students…” the goal goes on to state that at ETHS, we will “strive to eliminate the predictability of academic achievement based upon race. ETHS will also strive to eliminate the predictability of academic achievement based upon family income, disabilities and status as English Language learners.” We have not and will not waver from this commitment. In fact, actions rooted in racism and hate in our community inspire us to be more determined to deepen our commitment to this goal.
Now more than ever, we are called to recommit to our work around racial equity. Now more than ever, we must be there for our students to show them the wrongs of this world and show them that right is far more superior. We must focus on our students. We must care, love, inspire, protect and nurture them.
At ETHS, we stand with District 65 in our collective responsibility to resist any acts of hate or violence that challenge our commitment to equity and anti-racism in our districts. We will continue to focus on students–their education and their well-being. We recognize that the collective work of our school districts has far-reaching impact on our entire community. Therefore, we denounce any acts of racism, misogyny and homophobia and pledge to use our resources and efforts to advance racial and educational equity, and fairness.
The Evanston Township High School District 202 Board of Education
Pat Savage-Williams, President
Monique Parson, Vice President