Updated: Jul 22, 2020
Dear Evanston Supporters of Kevin Brown,
Government employees are the people who are tasked with carrying out the will of the people as channeled through their elected officials. This is what Kevin L. Brown, the Community Services Manager who has led the award-winning Youth and Young Adult Division of Evanston, has done since 2012.
But in recent weeks, the City's staff leadership turned the tables and fired Kevin even though he and his team have fulfilled this broadly popular priority of the people and the City Council: to "give young people with life challenges, multiple, closely aligned pathways to success."
As you are aware, City Manager Erika Storlie and Lawrence Hemingway, Director of Parks, Recreation & Community Services, terminated Kevin's employment three weeks ago for baffling reasons.
Leaders of organizations that serve youth throughout Evanston, young people themselves who were mentored by Kevin and his staff, religious leaders, residents of all ages, races, and neighborhoods, and even former Mayor Liz Tisdahl have spoken out over the last two City Council meetings for Kevin Brown during public comment.
Exponentially more than those 60 people who spoke out are the scores of emails, letters, and calls that were directed to elected officials and Ms. Storlie.
Kevin has appealed the decision and the City Manager's office has indicated it will respond next week. We must all make clear as a community that we stand with Kevin Brown and we want the City to give him back his job. And in standing with Kevin Brown, we stand with our youth and young adults who have benefited from the City's Youth and Young Adult Division as led by Kevin.
This entire situation also raises broader concerns about fairness and a core ethic of care, especially relevant now that the City Council has created a Reparations program and needs staff to carry it out.
You are invited to a strategy meeting in advance of next Monday's City Council meeting. Please come -- and spread the word.
WHAT: Community Meeting: Kevin Brown, the Youth & Young Adult Division, and a Just Evanston
WHEN: Saturday, December 7, 2019, 4 PM
WHERE: Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center, 1655 Foster, east door
-- To come up with a grassroots strategy directed at the City Council, particularly for the 12/9 meeting, aimed at getting Kevin Brown reinstated
-- To parse out the broader issues and implications of the City's action against Kevin
-- To decide on whether and how to move forward on a broader community campaign to reform "business as usual" at the Civic Center
We know this is a busy season and we are so grateful for the time you can give to Kevin and the important issues raised here for all of Evanston. We look forward to seeing you then.
Gail, for the Reinstate Kevin Brown working group