Nina Kavin is a writer and community activist who co-founded Dear Evanston in 2016. Dear Evanston grew out of a group project during the Evanston Community Foundation’s Leadership Evanston program as a social media platform to explore youth gun violence in Evanston.
When the project ended and the group disbanded, Nina was compelled to continue building on the work and expanding its focus — bringing Evanston’s Black and white residents together, interviewing Evanston's Black residents about their lives and experiences, exploring broader issues of race in Evanston, lifting up Black businesses and raising funds for them, raising funds for gun violence victims, and engaging Evanston residents in constructive dialogue, activities, and action around these issues.
Today, more than 12,000 people follow DE's Facebook page.
Over the past five years, Dear Evanston has organized bimonthly racial justice book groups that have drawn 80 to 200 participants, a 5th Ward Festival to encourage white Evanston residents to cross the invisible “border” into Evanston’s historic Black ward (created as a result of racial redlining), four buses to Washington DC to the Women’s March in 2016, a bus to Springfield in 2018 to rally for sensible gun legislation, two buses in 2019 year to Montgomery, Alabama to visit the Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice, covered and participated in many events, activities, and protests, advocated at City Council meetings, promoted Black businesses, raised funds for minority-owned businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic, consulted with Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre--Evanston’s Black theatre company--and shared the voices of Evanston residents who have been less- often heard in the white community.
Since 2019, DE has focused on educating the white community about Evanston’s municipal reparations initiative and encouraging contributions to its fund.
Nina is forever grateful to Leadership Evanston and its fearless leader Jennifer Moran, LE group members Juliet Bond, Mitchell Smith, Amy Monday, Nick Gehl, and TeeNeka Jones, to "bus ladies" Kathleen Long, Evan Finamore, and Kimberly Holmes Ross, to so many outstanding residents who have entrusted DE with their stories, and to everyone who has provided insightful and constructive advice and support as DE has grown and developed.