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."
"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 toDear Evanston."
"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 DearEvanston.org 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.”
.".. 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.”
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.”
"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.
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."