Dear Evanston in the News 

Before the June 8 City Council meeting where the Council was slated to vote on the direct appointment, members of Evanston grassroots groups like the Organization for Positive Action and Leadership, Community Alliance for Better Government and Dear Evanston held a socially distanced rally calling on the city to vote against the proposed nomination. 

"Simmons’ work also builds on the earlier achievement of Evanston alderman and now circuit court judge, Lionel Jean-Baptiste, who, in 2002, passed a city council resolution demanding reparations after the United Nations’ Durban conference declared slavery a “crime against humanity”. The fire for reparations also needed the kindling of community-based educators, such as Dino Robinson, who, in 1995, established the Shorefront Legacy Center to retrieve, archive and redeem the Black history of the city. Evanston’s success also relied on the active commitment of white allies, such as Nina Kavin and her Dear Evanston project, who sees her work as supporting Simmons by working with white communities in Evanston so that they don’t opt to “unsee the racial divide”.

May 22, 2020

Hecky Powell, longtime restaurateur, philanthropist, former District 65 School Board member, and outspoken voice on Evanston issues for nearly half a century, has died, according to numerous postings on social media.

Expressions of shock and sympathy have rolled in from the community after Dear Evanston, a social media site, first reported that Mr. Powell, had died this morning of the Coronavirus.

“This virus isn’t going to go away” — Evanston organizations rush to assist the city’s vulnerable homeless population--The Daily Northwestern

March 30, 2020

"Evanston residents provided blankets, toiletries, paper goods, packaged snacks, water bottles and even original artwork to furnish the home. Lisa Laude and Nina Kavin, along with the Facebook groups Dear Evanston and Evanston area COVID-19 community support, coordinated donations, according to Rue Simmons."

In Evanston, sibling duo use their soul food restaurant to churn out free meals for seniors housebound by coronavirus--Chicago Tribune

March 26, 2020

​"Nina Kavin runs Dear Evanston, a community group that works to connect and unify Evanston residents around issues of race and social justice and anti-violence. On Tuesday evening, she shared a post on the group’s Facebook page listing local businesses and organizations providing food assistance for people affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. She mentioned Jennifer’s Edibles."

Evanston Homelessness Groups Collaborate on Plan in Response to Covid-19 Virus--Evanston Roundtable

March 25, 2020

"The alderman announced, initially through the Dear Evanston social media site,  that she would be gifting the house, which she had closed on for purchase a few weeks before, to be used as a shelter for homeless women for two weeks 'while I’m working with Connections on more solutions.'"

Although Jan. 26 was a dreary day outside, inside the newly renovated Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center was humming with energy and activities. The 2020 Year of Kindness and Nonviolent Action Initiative (and City-wide art project) was about to officially begin, and there was so much to do.

"Evanston resident Nina Kavin started planning an 'Uncomfortable Journey' to Montgomery, Alabama, two years ago, when she first read about plans to build the Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice. In September, she and two busloads of 105 Evanston residents — black, white, Asian, Latinx, Jewish, Christian, doctors, teachers, social workers, police officers, ages 18 to 80 — made the journey together."

Photo credit: Chicago Tribune/John J. Kim

November 19, 2019

"Brown was terminated Friday because he used a city credit card to pay off parking tickets incurred while parking city vehicles in the Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center parking lot, according to Dear Evanston." 

Photo credit: Bob Seidenberg

To hear the interview, click on the 11/06/19 show. Their interview is at 16:28 on the timeline.  

"Speaking more about why he went on the trip, Mr. Gaines said, “My parents are from Georgia, and I wanted to find out information about what happened there. Also, I wanted to come together with a group of people from different backgrounds to try to make some sense of what happened historically in this country.”

"Every single one of us needs to know this history. And until there’s a museum and memorial like this in every city in America, we need to make this pilgrimage to learn about and confront our past so that we can move forward toward a more just future."

“We can invite famous authors and thinkers, teachers who inspire us for an hour to be better,” said Nina Kavin, whose group, Dear Evanston, addresses race and equity issues. We can even take two buses of 100 residents to the Legacy Museum [in Montgomery, Alabama]. But absolutely none of  it means anything if we don’t do something truly meaningful and effective to make economic amends for the brutality of slavery and the way it has evolved through today, right here in Evanston.”

"The first problem that needed solving was finding interested kids. After an initial outreach attempt failed, Kelly contacted blogger and community activist Nina Kavin who runs for help. With less than a week to go before the start of the program, Thomas had no kids signed up. Nina generously posted the opportunity on her Facebook page, and 24 hours later, the team had more inquiries than available spots. “My biggest takeaway was that minority kids weren’t playing not because they were disinterested,” shared Thomas. “They just didn’t have exposure and opportunity.”

Back-to-Back Meetings Get Reparations Proposal Rolling/Evanston Roundtable

.".. In creating a fund, the group should also consider a public awareness effort to the white community, suggested Nina Kavin, editor of Dear Evanston, “because in a lot of ways it’s the white community that needs to do the reparations, whether we were here or not back then.”

Jevoid Simmons exhibit tells his family's migration story from Alabama to Iowa/Daily Northwestern

Nina Kavin, co-founder of community activism group Dear Evanston, found Simmons’ family migration similar to the story of the Israelites leaving Egypt, which her family recounts every Passover. She said she appreciated that his story was not only personal, but also spoke to the universal narrative about moving from oppression to freedom.

“He’s an activist,” Kavin said. “He’s an activist through his storytelling and I really admire him for that.”

DE Racial Justice Book Group featured on WNUR

WNUR reporter Jennifer Zhan visited Dear Evanston's Racial Justice Book Group in April, and reports.

"In her introduction to the evening’s discussions, Nina Kavin, founder of Dear Evanston, which co-sponsors the book group, asked for a show of hands for those who had been to or heard of Fleetwood Jourdain. In a group composed entirely of Evanston residents, less than half raised a hand."  

“I realized I couldn’t just tell stories over and over again,” Kavin said. “The stories in and of themselves are valuable and beautiful and powerful, but if you don’t follow stories up with action, then they’re just stories.”

"We asked three Chicagoland influencers to map out morning-to-night itineraries in the neighborhoods they call home: Evanston, the West Loop, and Hinsdale. Here, writer, community activist and Dear Evanston co-founder Nina Kavin shares her Evanston hit list.

"Evanston residents joined protesters from across Chicago in blocking the Dan Ryan Expressway Saturday to call attention to gun violence, crime and other issues affecting neighborhoods in the city."

Nina Kavin, a founder of Dear Evanston, a multi-platform social media campaign which seeks to shed light on violence across the city, said attending the shutdown was a motivating experience.

She said she was inspired by the wide range of ages and backgrounds of the protesters, and felt there was solidarity among the attendees.“We can always use some hope,” Kavin said. “And we can always use some fighting.”

"Police announced 32 guns were brought in to a gun buyback event Saturday at Christ Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Evanston. The buyback brought in 26 handguns and six long guns at $100 apiece. The unwanted firearms are not longer at risk of misuse or entering the criminal market, police said."

“They are an enormous factor in helping to keep the peace in Evanston, to prevent violence in Evanston, to address violence in Evanston,” Kavin said. “If the city of Evanston is going to talk about the need to reduce violence, then you can’t eliminate a program like this.”

“We’re aware of gun violence every single day,” said Nina Kavin, one of the event’s organizers. “Whether it’s a mass shooting or a shooting in Evanston, we’re all very aware of gun violence. It’s important to come to the event to stand together in solidarity.”

"...just as American racism isn’t limited to the Southern states, Chicago’s racist housing history doesn’t end with the South Side. In “A Home on the Lake,” now in a world premiere with Piven Theatre in collaboration with Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre, both of Evanston, we see the not-so-shocking truth that Evanston — liberal reputation notwithstanding — also grew along segregated lines."

"In the process, Rhoze said he used interviews from Nina Kavin, co-founder of Dear Evanston, as inspiration and research for the script. He said he had heard stories of black-owned homes by the lake being loaded onto flatbeds and driven to the west side of Evanston, referenced in one of the opening scenes of the play.

"According to 'A Home on the Lake' co-author and Director Tim Rhoze, his new production – mounted in a collaboration between Piven Theatre Workshop and Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre – is about two issues that have long been significant for city-dwellers: race relations and real estate."

"A Home on the Lake tells the story of two Evanston families—one living in the 1920s, the other in present day—whose lives are disrupted by matters of property and race. At its crux, the two businessmen and their families—one white, one black—make business deals that result in the relocation of black residents’ homes to what becomes the city’s 'black district.'"

“We have to do something as a community as an action,” Kavin said. “It can’t just be posting and sharing posts and having condolences … if we don’t go a step further, then none of it is worth anything.”

"This trip is dedicated to all our Evanston youth who have been victims of gun violence, to the 249 people who have been shot in Chicago since Jan. 1, to the 17 victims of the mass shooting in Florida, and to all the other victims who get shot every single day in this country."

"Steele’s plight caught the attention of a local organization, Dear Evanston. There was a rally at Steele’s home in the 5th ward on Saturday to protest her impending eviction. In a video on Dear Evanston’s Facebook page, Steele said she is looking for a new place to live, but she cannot afford a house and her health prevents her from renting an apartment."

This podcast, by ETHS student Benjamin Silverman, tracks the story of kneeling during the national anthem at sporting events at ETHS.

"Nina Kavin, co-founder of Dear Evanston, said she helped organize the panel to show the many ways of addressing gun violence and to highlight people’s experiences with the issue.

“Because the topic is so overwhelming, and there’s so many angles to come at it from, you can’t get nearly enough experts in the room to address it,” Kavin told The Daily. “But what I loved about this panel is we had people who had real, first-hand experience with gun violence.”

Dear Evanston founder Nina Kavin said in a Sept. 28 post that she had to take the photo down because many comments were “racist, misogynistic diatribes, hideous memes, swear words, and sexually explicit suggestions.”

"For the second installment of Hey, Cool Mom!, I'm excited to feature Nina Kavin.  She's passionate, she's funny, and she's getting sh*t done in the city of Evanston, Illinois (the first suburb of north of Chicago... also, my home town)."

"A Vision Keeper embodies values that positively impact both the faith community and the larger community. We honor them because they truly grace every life they touch and encourage all of us to affirm our own vision."

"Nina Kavin is a founder of the Dear Evanston project. She also helped organize a trip to Washington D.C. last month that included hundreds of women from Evanston who went to participate in the Women's March."

"Kathleen Long, Evan Finamore, and Nina Kavin organized the bus trip – provisions, entertainment and focused conversation for those on the 1,200-mile round trip from Evanston to Washington, D.C.

Ms. Kavin, founder of the website Dear Evanston, said she was motivated to organize the trip because “Trump’s words and actions during the campaign and his proposed policies directly attack and endanger so many different people in our society."

"Nina Kavin, an Evanston resident who helped organize buses to the march in Washington, said she was “proud and inspired” by Schakowsky’s decision to join.

“I am thrilled that she will be part of the marching masses of people who are going to march for human rights against bigotry and hate,” Kavin said. “She is listening and reflecting the priorities of her constituents. … It was probably a very, very hard decision.”

"At least four buses will be heading to Washington, D.C. next week for the Women’s March, thanks to the organizational skills of Kathleen Long, Evan Finamore and Nina Kavin. The buses will leave the Evanston Township High School parking lot at 4:13 p.m. on Jan. 20."

Nina Kavin, an Evanston resident whose son attends ETHS, shared Witherspoon's note on her Dear Evanston Facebook page, a group she set up last year to address gun violence in Evanston.

"I thought his words were so powerful and so beautiful and kind and necessary," Kavin told me. "I thought they needed to be heard by everybody." Her post has reached more than 60,000 people.

“We wanted to do something this summer to help prevent gun violence, so this is what we came up with,” Nina Kavin, a team member of Dear Evanston said.

"The area, running between Lyons and Church street and bounded by the North Shore Channel on the west, has been referred to as a "hidden jewel, with talent, intelligence, culture and a rich, long history," said Nina Kavin, co-founder of local group Dear Evanstonwhich has been working with residents on a festival to highlight the ward's many contributions."

"During a summer where youth violence and strained race relations across the nation have made headlines, the Fifth Ward Festival unites the Evanston community"

Meet Our Community: Fifth Ward Festival will take place on Saturday, August 27 from noon to 8 p.m. at Twiggs Park (Simpson and Bridge Streets). 

"The Dear Evanston social media campaign is wrapping up its official project after three months, but organizers are looking to continue the conversation they started."

"Dear Evanston, the project of one group in the most recent Leadership Evanston class, is a Facebook page with posts from Evanston residents about racial equity and youth violence in this eight-square-mile community." 

A half-dozen Evanston community members recently launched a social media campaign to drive awareness of violence in the city, provide a platform for those affected by it and hopefully drum up some solutions to the problem, according to the campaign's organizers. 

The project, dubbed Dear Evanston, is a multi-platform campaign with its own website and accounts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. 

“dear evanston” - or #dearevanston - kicked off last week encouraging all forms of expression like written narratives, artwork, music, photography, videos, poetry, sermons and opinion pieces to be used as ways to convey ideas on how to prevent violence in the local community.

Local residents and community organizers launched last week a social media campaign designed to give Evanston residents a platform to voice their thoughts on violence in the city.

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