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Are you watching Survivor 2021?

Do you recognize contestant Liana Wallace, ETHS grad, poet, BLM activist, and one of the founders of Evanston Fight for Black Lives?!

I met Liana in 2016 when she was an ETHS sophomore and we asked her to pen and perform a poem about Evanston at DE’s “Meet Our Community: 5th ward Festival.”

Liana Wallace reads her poem in 2016 at DE's 5th ward festival. Photo: Micah Miller

The Festival recognized the 5th ward’s history and richness and addressed underlying causes of gun violence.

Read her poem below.

Liana currently attends Georgetown University.

Liana! We’re rooting for you!

Dear Evanston we are divided

Dear Evanston I see invisible lines running parallel through our streets

Dear Evanston let's take a walk down these stairs to see how we got to the floor we stand upon today

The children and houses on the other side of Green Bay road near Northwestern where kept and grew on the backs of African Americans raising your children and abandoning theirs yet on the other side of this Green Bay is the home and the culture were predominantly African Americans stayed where they learned and went to school played sports and competed lived in a mix of varying socioeconomic statuses and thrived in an essence of rich harmony and culture

Dear Evanston by taking away African Americans from their central school their culture was stripped away, shattered to make others have a more colorful school picture one day the housing market started to grow raising housing costs in low income areas forcing many to go the black community lost its value as big yellow buses shipped black children to predominantly white spaces and invisible lines got thicker and thicker between our streets

Dear Evanston It is hard to hear truth but here it is we are not asking you for gentrification we are asking for change of mind and realization

Dear Evanston today today I fear your eyes have been covered by blinders and your ears only hear negative from the 5th do economic differences make you want to give up? like there is no way to connect with someone whose house is equivalent to the bathroom in yours

Dear Evanston what you think is broken wants to meet you what you think is dark has light there is still community and great treasure have you seen our Chessmen, have you seen the players at fleetwood, have you seen the change that YOU makes in one child's life

we need each other

Dear Evanston take off your blinders give me your fear explore and see the wonders over here

Dear Evanston there is hope in the difference of your blue eyes and mine brown there is hope in your big house and mine small here there is hope Dear Evanston here there is hope."


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