Evanston RoundTable
At dawn in late May, herons waded in the still waters of Lake Michigan near the lakefill (Photo by Mary Mumbrue)

Good morning, Evanston.

Northlight Theatre officials were a few weeks away from buying a downtown property for their new theater center last March when the talks had to be canceled because of the uncertainty cast by COVID-19.

Now back in talks on the property, theater officials are seeking help from the City – requesting $2 million of the federal stimulus funds Evanston recently received – to get the project back on track.

Paul Zalmezak, the City’s Economic Development Manager, noted in a memo that the potential investment “leverages a new activity in downtown, desperately needed with the ongoing decline of retail stores resulting from industry restructuring/e-commerce growth.” 


Continuing the downward trend, Evanston reported no new COVID-19 cases in five of the last seven days, with its seven-day average of new cases per day dropping to 0.4. The test positivity rate in Evanston is 0.05%, which is well below the thresholds recommended by the Illinois Department of Public Health and leading researchers. Northwestern University reports that between May 24 and May 30, there was one new confirmed case of an NU faculty member, staff, or student.

In City news, plans for the Juneteenth celebrations are announced, including a parade, speeches, performances, and festivities. Kemone Hendricks, founder of Evanston Present and Future and Evanston’s Juneteenth Parade, has made this year’s Juneteenth theme “A journey towards real reparations.”

“With our Juneteenth Celebrations, Evanston will not only lead the nation in reparations, we will set the example with unity and truth. Juneteenth is America’s real Independence/Freedom day and an inflection point for social change and social justice,” Ms. Hendricks added.


Elsewhere on the RoundTable Website

Photos Around Town. Evanstonians have captured the beauty of late spring.

Two Local Churches Present Faith-Based Approaches to Reparations. Reverend Michael Woolf, senior pastor at Lake Street Church, and Reverend Dr. Michael Nabors, senior pastor at Second Baptist Church, invite the community to a multi-faith conversation on reparations. The two churches are partnering with Rabbi Aryeh Bernstein, National Educator with Avodah, and Duncan Ryuken Williams, Professor and Director, USC Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture. The conversation will be held via Zoom at noon on June 20.

Chess is Now Entertainment. In January of 2020, chess was a game. Chess websites were becoming more popular but were primarily used as a convenient way for chess players to play games with one another. Media coverage of chess was limited; the leading story at the time was the Candidates Tournament, scheduled for March, to select the player who would challenge Magnus Carlsen for the world championship in 2021. By January of 2021, chess was more than a game – it was entertainment.

Jeffrie Chirchirillo and Jessica Brewer Prugh Exhibits at Perspective Art Gallery in June. Jeffrie Chirchirillo’s “Washing Dishes” and Jessica Brewer Prugh’s “I Have Ridden Superhighways and Believed the Billboard’s Promises” will be on display at Perspective Art Gallery, 1310 1/2B Chicago Ave., from June 3 through June 27.

New Literary Magazine From the Library. 10th Ward Lit, a new literary magazine from the Evanston Public Library, strives to give an opportunity to the underrepresented and lesser known artists of Evanston to share their work and be a further part of their community. The magazine’s name comes from the library itself, where residents of all nine wards come together. The 10th Ward Lit website affirms that the aforementioned “10th Ward” is the community of individuals and artists formed in the Evanston Public Library.  

Hitters Find focus as Wildkits Bash Buffalo Grove. High school coaches across the State of Illinois have the same concerns as Evanston baseball coach Frank Consiglio at the conclusion of the most difficult year in sports that anyone can remember. The lack of focus for teen-aged athletes is a problem every season for those who lead teams in spring sports, but the extension of the Illinois High School Association competition calendar deep into June this year due to the coronavirus pandemic has added another dimension to that dilemma.


Around the Web

  • As debate over the teaching of critical race theory spreads into the country’s educational system, Republicans at all levels of government are trying to block curriculums that emphasize systemic racism.
  • A three-year extension of the cocktails-to-go measure was signed into law yesterday by Gov. J.B. Pritzker. Created to help businesses during the pandemic, the law also allows bars and restaurants to give a free drink to people who’ve been vaccinated against the coronavirus.
  • As coronavirus vaccination numbers continue to dip, Gov. Pritzker said this week the State continues to explore incentives — including a possible lottery — to encourage holdouts to get their COVID-19 shots.

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