The weather couldn't have been more perfect, and the promise of an ice-cream cone at C & W Market and Ice Cream Parlor more enticing, for yesterday's Walk for Unity to raise awareness about the Family Focus Evanston building, the array of nonprofit community services it houses at 2010 Dewey, and it's historic importance to the Evanston's Black community.
Led by the youth of Family Focus and the Evanston/North Shore Branch NAACP and organized by Nikko Ross, the Walk for Unity drew about 150 kids, parents, community members, community organizations, and community leaders. They gathered at 5 p.m. at Simpson and Dodge and joyfully snaked their way toward Wendy Weaver and Clarence Weaver's ice-cream shop waving signs, chanting, giggling, socializing, and advocating for this beloved landmark and the crucial social services it houses.
The building, which is located at 2010 Dewey Ave., is at risk of being sold outside of the community.
The building is significant not only for its current-day value, but it is historically significant for having housed the only Black school in Evanston--Foster School--before desegregation. It then became home to the original King Lab.
It's the only landmark building in the fifth ward that still stands and operates: the Emerson YMCA, which was established because members of the Black community couldn't attend the "regular" Y, and Community Hospital, the hospital where many Black Evanston residents were born and cared for when they weren't allowed access to Evanston Hospital, are both gone. The Community Hospital building is now owned by Over The Rainbow Association. It's located at 2040 Brown Ave, Evanston.
An organization called Family Focus Our Place is getting ready to start raising funds to purchase, repair, and maintain the building. They will need about $5 million. If you'd like to get on the list to find out more or if you plan to donate, please email Dear Evanston.
Here's a short video recap from yesterday's Walk.
Find out why this building and its programs need to remain IN the community FOR the community!