I'm excited to introduce DE's new part-time Executive Assistant, Kemone Hendricks!
In this new role, Kemone will help with all things DE: making sure to share information about the myriad events and activities that Evanston groups, non-profits, and businesses organize that are focused on race, equity, and community building; helping to respond to the many emails we receive from folks who look to us for help connecting, understanding, learning, engaging, and acting; organizing DE events; helping to raise funds for DE (our shoestring budget really needs help! If you'd like to donate to DE, we'd so appreciate it !); and more.
Kemone is a long-time Evanston resident and mom of two who is a multitalented community organizer, digital marketing and events consultant, social justice activist, and social entrepreneur. Kemone is the founder of Evanston Present and Future, which works with teen parents in the Chicago area. Like me, Kemone is a graduate of Leadership Evanston.
I first "met" Kemone several years ago when I did a DE story about her organization and then again last summer when she worked with Robin Rue Simmons 5th Ward Alderman and Evanston's Equity and Empowerment Commission to organize community focus groups around Evanston's Reparations Initiative, which I have supported from day one (find out more and contribute to the reparations fund here).
Many of you know Kemone because she's also the founder of Evanston's first Juneteenth parade and has been guest-posting about it on Dear Evanston for the past few months (if you missed it, you can watch the online parade here, and DE's video of the car parade here).
I'm proud that DE was the first organization to support the parade. Kemone orchestrated an outstanding (virtual) commemoration and celebration over two evenings, including a community reading of the play A Day of Absence, directed by Tim Rhoze of Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre, and in the form of a car parade down Dodge Avenue.
What impressed me so much is the way Kemone pivoted on a dime when Covid-19 hit to make sure that the show went on no matter what, and that she did it with grace, energy, focus, joy, and incredibly hard work.
For the past couple of months, in honor of Juneteenth, she's also spearheaded a series of pop-up shops featuring Juneteenth merchandise, focusing on Evanston's Black-owned businesses, such as C & W Market and Ice Cream Parlor, YoFresh Yogurt Cafe, and Hecky's Barbecue, and lifting up local people and organizations (for example Evanston Township High School (ETHS) student and social activist artist Kennedy Freeman and Young, Black & Lit).
Earlier this week, she held an outstanding Zoom presentation and discussion, which DE co-hosted, with well-known racial justice activist Ally Henny about Juneteenth and white fragility.
Please help me welcome Kemone and make sure to stay in touch with both of us with your questions, ideas, events, and stories at firstname.lastname@example.org.