Evanston/North Shore Branch NAACP President Michael Nabors responded earlier this week to the recent letters containing racist slurs that were sent to three Evanston/Skokie School District 65 schools, racist trolls that filled D65's social media, and specific hate-filled letters sent to D65 Superintendent Devon Horton, D65 Board President Anya Wiley Tanyavutti, and Deputy Superintendent Latarsha Green.
In a letter Nabors sent to Tanyavutti on Monday, he wrote, "This letter is to encourage those who have received hate mail for doing their jobs and trying to make our community a better place."
Here's the full letter submitted by Pastor Nabors:
No Racism in our City Means No Threats to Our Leaders
The Evanston/North Shore Branch of the NAACP has recently learned of correspondence and communication received by and/or aimed at members of District 65’s School Board and the new superintendent, Dr. Horton. More specifically we learned such communication was threatening, racist and deeply offensive, pointed specifically at board members of color, and Dr. Horton, an African American. The hateful diatribe is clearly aimed at District 65’s focus on a powerful and inclusive initiative to improve equitable models of education for all Evanston students. This includes lending appropriate resources to Black and brown students who are not performing at grade level for a myriad of reasons. The District’s 2019 Academic Report noted the considerable discrepancies between white and minority students (mainly Black and Latinx).
Since his arrival in Evanston and even before, Dr. Horton has shown consistent dedication in establishing processes and procedures for equity, working with the school board and wider community. He began with a task force of more than sixty persons to help the district assess steps towards re-opening schools and classrooms for our community. The task force was a wonderful multiplicity of District 65 personnel and community members. The members of the task force represented the inclusivity in our town. They were strategic, evaluative and worked cooperatively in bringing the best recommendations forward.
Those persons who have sent such condescending and negative communication, must not have known about the diversity, or largesse of the task force. The movement of the Superintendent’s Office and the District 65 School Board, has come with the overwhelming support of the task force and Evanstonians. The need to assist those who are most at risk lies at the heart of human civility and is one of the linchpins making Evanston a wonderful place to live. We are a community that cares and shares. We have acknowledged historical wrongs that have been the basis for so much discrepancy. And we are working together to address the wrongs and to chart a course for a future that is stronger, wiser and much fairer for us all.
The persons who are ranting and raving about Black and brown children being given unfair advantages, who are attempting to paint lying and despicable brushstrokes of Black and brown administrators and board members, must not know about the heart and spirit of Evanston. We see through artificiality and we read ignorance in others with ease. We know when outside agitators belonging to venomous white nationalist and white racist organizations attempt to divide us. We are aware when such hate attempts to infiltrate and disrupt the good we seek to accomplish through the arduous effort of collaboration and building relationships. It is as easy as pointing out those who would hang a confederate flag on one of our beaches, rip and tear Black Lives Matter signs from our lawns and who, for the life of them...can’t even say Black Lives Matter.
This letter is to encourage those who have received hate mail for doing their jobs and trying to make our community a better place. The Evanston/North Shore NAACP is the oldest and boldest civil rights organization in the history of the United States. We have mountains of hate mail, death threats and assassination attempts that have accrued down through the years. Even as a local pastor and president of a small branch, I have received my share of vile communication. This is the thing; such evil only strengthens women and men of good will. It only invigorates and deepens our resolve. We are determined more than ever, to defeat every vestige of racism, to tear down every system of discrimination and to encourage every person to join us. We are about building a Beloved Community. That in no way means a “black only” community. It means a community where all people- of every shade and hue, every religion and culture are all reaching their highest level of aspirations.
This is what District 65 is doing. And I go on record to thank Dr. Devon Horton, Dr. Latarsha Green, Anya Tanyavutti and all other 65 personnel whose dedication to excellence and equity, makes them the target of hatred and threats. In such a world, it is so important for us to support our heroes.
A final word for the “would be” antagonizers and purveyors of racism, your hatred has no place here. Really, it has no place anywhere. You are done, but such cruelty has blinded you to this reality. Time to open your eyes. A new world is emerging.
Reverend Dr. Michael C. R. Nabors President Evanston/North Shore NAACP