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Dear City Council,
Clergy in Evanston have watched the city’s response to reports of sexual harassment and assault among staff of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Human Services with great interest. Like many of you, we were shocked at the initial response to the brave women and girls who raised their voices and sought justice. Now is the time to address the systemic wrongs that they presented in their letter.
Many of the responses that are necessary might unfold over the course of an investigation, but one action must be taken now – the city must apologize unequivocally for its treatment of these young women. Such an apology is the first step in a long process of repair, and without it, moral and spiritual progress are impossible. We cannot speak with those who wrote the letter due to their anonymity, but we do know one thing they asked for – an apology, and the city can provide that.
The apology should reflect the specific language suggested in the letter and, in order to avoid further harm to the survivors, must be drafted in collaboration with experts in trauma-informed practices.
Our different faith traditions all affirm that wrongdoing must be met with acknowledgement and an intention to do better. An apology alone is not sufficient, but without one, the city compounds the trauma of the sexual assault and harassment that was reported.
It’s time to do the right thing.
Rev. Dr. Michael Woolf
Lake Street Church of Evanston
Rev. Eileen Wiviott
Unitarian Church of Evanston
Rev. Michael D. Kirby
Northminster Presbyterian Church
The Rev. Charles A. de Kay
St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church
Rev. Dr. Joellen Hosler
SamaraCare Counseling Center
The Rev. Lee A. Gaede
St. Andrew’s Pentecost Episcopal Church