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Imagine there's no tokens

It’s easy if you try

Just sand below us

Above us, only sky

Imagine all the people

Hangin' on the beach


Imagine there's no fences

It isn't hard to do

Nothing to pay or buy for

No proof of income too

Imagine all the people

Aunts, brothers, and your niece


You may say I'm a dreamer

But I'm not the only one

I hope someday you'll join us

And Evanston tokens will be gone

Imagine no price of admission

I wonder if you can

No need for fees -- old or younger

A peoplehood in sand

Imagine all the people

Sharing towels unfurled

You may say I'm a dreamer

But I'm not the only one

I hope someday you'll join us

And Evanston beach tokens will be gone.

With my sincere apologies to John Lennon and with thanks to Evanston Fight for Black Lives: Community, Citizens' Greener Evanston, many residents who support eliminating barriers to beach access in Evanston and to City Council member Devon Reid, 8, for getting the discussion on the agenda for City Council's May 24 meeting.

And thanks to Mayor Daniel Biss, who, in a recent Daily Northwestern article (3/12/21) about beach tokens as an access barrier to Lake Michigan, said the lakefront should be a universally accessible public community asset, and that he would prefer to do away with beach tokens altogether.

“We don’t say you have to buy a token to be able to go to James Park or to go for a walk along the lakefront on the bypass. Yet we do say that you need to buy a token to be able to enjoy access to what is maybe our most treasured outdoor public space," he said. "We’re rationing access to this public asset, and we’re rationing it by the ability to pay.”

Also: Evanston Fight for Black Lives, Dear Evanston, Citizens Greener Evanston, and others will be working on this issue and will continue to share information, so stay tuned.

For now, check out EFBL's graphics about Evanston beach history and donate to their fundraiser so they can purchase tokens for people who can't afford them this summer ... until the beaches are free.

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