On a rainy Monday, hundreds took part in the two-mile Walk for Warmth, a community effort to raise money for the Interfaith Action of Evanston and to honor civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. by being of service today.

King listed the three evils to fight in society as racism, poverty and war, but he wrote in 1967 that poverty was at the center of the agenda. As the National Alliance Against Homelessness wrote in a 2018 tribute to King: “Homelessness is the worst manifestation of the widening inequality that perpetuates poverty.”

Interfaith Action of Evanston, which organized the walk, wanted the event to call attention to homelessness and hunger while raising money for local shelters. A total of 489 registered walkers, including 335 adults and 154 children, took to the streets. The organization raised more then $26,000.

RoundTable photographer Richard Cahan profiles in words and pictures 10 of those who participated for this intimate portrait.

Credit: Richard Cahan

The Moore family: Mom Suzie, dad Charles and son Luke. Said Charles: “We believe in Dr. King’s message. And there is nothing better to do than to participate in the actions that he took in getting us where we are today. That is to march.”

Credit: Richard Cahan

“I support Interfaith Action and I support the idea that people who are homeless don’t need to be punished,” said Cheryl Kendrick. “We as a society ought to be able to offer housing.”

Credit: Richard Cahan

“Long ago, when I was in my 20s, I made my living two summers in a row singing in the subway tunnels,” said Margaret Nelson. “My landlady, may she be blessed, took my rent during those months in quarters….I’m here in her memory and the folks that I know who are on the street.”

Credit: Richard Cahan

The Varela family: Dad Peter, mom Celina, Mateo (in mask) and Romero. Said Celina: “It just feels like something good that we can do to honor the life of Martin Luther King Jr. and remind ourselves how big our world is.”

Credit: Richard Cahan

“What kind of community are we if we can’t support the most vulnerable people in our community,” asked lead walker Sol Anderson, of the Evanston Community Foundation. “This is such an easy way to support our wonderful faith community, who has stepped up in this way. It’s important for us as a community to show support for them both monetarily and by just showing up.”

Credit: Richard Cahan

“I’m really glad that Interfaith Action of Evanston actually is providing a warm place for people unfortunate enough not to have a warm place to sleep at night,” said Ken Novak.

Credit: Richard Cahan

“I stand with the homeless population of Evanston,” said Rev. Dennis Oglesby Jr. of the Sherman United Methodist Church, walking with church member Mildred Carter. “It is heightening the awareness of the need for us to be more hospitable and be more welcoming.”

Credit: Richard Cahan

“I want to raise money for the homeless,” said Mary Sotir. About the cane: “It’s not that bad. I can walk without my cane, but I’m really clumsy. It’s also gives me a lot of sympathy.”

Credit: Richard Cahan

“It makes me feel actually connected to the community in a bigger way,” said Motoko Maegawa. “It makes me more aware and helps raise awareness of issues affecting our community.”

Credit: Richard Cahan

“We don’t realize how fortunate we are that we have a place to live and we don’t have to worry about the cold winter,” said James Bell. “We are blessed. And I want to share that with the whole world.”

Richard Cahan

Richard Cahan takes photos for the Evanston RoundTable. He also is publisher of CityFiles Press, a small but mighty media company that believes in the power of words and pictures. You can reach him at...

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