Congratulations and thank you to Robin Rue Simmons 5th Ward Alderman for all you have accomplished by working tirelessly over the past four years. I look forward to continuing to partner with you on Evanston's reparations initiative by working to encourage Evanston's white residents to support it financially and in a variety of other ways, and I wish you everything of the best as you move forward.
This is Ald. Simmons' letter to her ward, released earlier today.
Dear neighbors, friends and partners,
Serving as 5th Ward Alderman is one of my greatest privileges and honors and it is the capstone of my life in service to our community. I’m honored to build on the transformative leadership of the 5th Ward leaders before me. They kicked in doors of inequality and laid the groundwork that allows us to continue to advance our ward.
Representing our collective voice has allowed me to lead with my lived experience and I am most proud that the voices of teen parents, the sandwich generation, under-resourced entrepreneurs and families struggling to enjoy affordable home ownership have been represented through my experience and voice. Our commitment to empowerment and inclusion has been lifted up and the trajectory of our city is more in line with our values. I believe that it’s vitally important, in order to continue this progress, that more underrepresented residents emerge as leaders in various elected, appointed and contracted roles throughout our city.
Over the last three years, with your individual contributions and our many partnerships, we’ve made measurable progress while prioritizing crucial opportunities to improve the conditions and livability of our families and businesses. We’ve also improved our natural and built environment.
Evanston, like our nation, is experiencing unprecedented times, and it’s precisely times like these that call for engagement and participation from every resident, business and organization in our city. Each of us, within our own capacity, should serve in our most effective role and to our greatest potential—and so many of us have done so. Together, we have made extraordinary commitments to racial equity and sustainability, including passing the nation’s first funded local reparation policy for Black residents and the passing of our Environmental Justice Resolution. I would not want to be in this time in history in any other American city but Evanston, Illinois. Of course, there is obvious room for improvement, but let’s acknowledge what we are doing right.
In the spirit of “Solutions Only,” too many of you have partnered with me to name, but please know that not one gesture or resource has gone unnoticed and you have made our progress possible.
Early in my term, my family and I determined that four years would be my capacity to serve as 5th Ward Alderman while working a full-time job and managing my business. I mapped out a four year action plan using our priorities and SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) to collaborate, learn, innovate and implement steps towards inclusion, wellness and justice. I serve daily, exploring and employing every option I can towards progress, and I am proud of our direction.
It is with a grateful heart that I announce that I will not seek a second term in the upcoming election. I am grateful because you allowed me the privilege to represent us. I have learned so much in this role and I have grown to love our city and many of you even more. I wish you had an inside view into the outstanding staff and the committed elected officials that work every day to meet our needs and expectations.
Over the next several months, I will continue working with you and our staff to reach our goals and respond to ward business. Based on our priorities, I am preparing a ward transition plan to be considered by our next 5th Ward Alderman and I will be available to support the ward if needed. As a Reparation Stakeholder, I look forward to continuing to strengthen and expand our reparations programming and partnerships as well as increasing our reparations funding.
Thank you all, and most importantly, thank you to my family and closest friends for extending such grace and patience as I’ve served.
Onward, Robin Rue Simmons