Policing and community safety at forefront of Evanstonians' minds

There's much necessary discussion right now about policing, over-policing, racism, and how we can make all members of our community safer with less and different law enforcement and more support of residents through increased investment in education, early childhood interventions, mental health, and so on.

Every opportunity to talk, learn, and then move toward change is crucial.

Divest-Invest: The Evanston Budget & Community Safety

Last night, The Citizens' Network of Protection - Evanston, IL, The People's Lobby, DefundEPD, and Reclaim Evanston presented a Zoom discussion about the history of policing and the future of community safety and police accountability in Evanston.

I'll post video from that event when it's available.

Policing and race in Evanston

If you missed Evanston City Clerk's Office/Devon Reid's panel discussion last week on policing and race, you can watch that here.

Defunding 101

Earlier this month, on June 11, the young women of Evanston Fight for Black Lives organized a community discussion called Defund 101, which drew more than 150 Evanston residents to Mason Park.

Citizen Police Review Commission

Last week, Mayor Hagerty appointed nine members to the new Citizen Police Review Commission, which passed by a narrow 5-4 vote at Monday's City Council meeting, with Aldermen Fiske, 1; Rue Simmons, 5; Suffredin, 6; and Fleming, 9, voting against the appointments.

The commission reports to the Human Services Committee.

The Citizen Police Review Commission is established as a subcommittee of the City’s Human Services Committee, and, according to the City's description, is intended to:

—Promote public confidence in the professionalism and accountability of the City of Evanston’s Police Department through unbiased review of the investigation of citizen complaints, thoughtful policy recommendations;

—Add a citizen perspective to the evaluation of citizen complaints;

— Provide a timely, fair and objective review of citizen complaints and the manner which they are investigated; and

— Provide a systematic means to achieve continuous improvement in citizen and police interactions..

Members, appointed by Mayor Steve Hagerty, are:

Jamal Graham - one-year term

A lifelong Evanston resident and aspiring teacher. Currently, attends the University of Illinois in Chicago and is an employee at Westminster Place in the 6th Ward. Volunteers at Beth Emet's Soup Kitchen, tutors students, and fundraises for charities.

Blanca Lule - one-year term

Has lived in Evanston for 25 years. Works as a paralegal and manager. Previously worked at the Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois, where she helped investigate misconduct.

Rick Marsh - one-year term

Has lived in Evanston for 36 years. After his career as a professional athlete in the NBA, he spent his professional career in corporate America. In Evanston, he has been involved as a coach and a mentor in FAAM, Board President of Curt's Café, and served on Evanston Park & Recreation Board. Graduate of Evanston Community Foundation's Leadership Evanston.

Shahna Richman - two-year term

Has lived in Evanston for 40 years. Former police officer and detective with the. City of New Haven, CT, Police Department, and special agent for the FBI. She's a volunteer educator for civil rights, forensic science, and criminal justice. Has volunteered with the YWCA-North Shore, St. Leonard's House Ministries, Connections for the Homeless, the Innocence Project, and Girls on the Run.

Nikko Ross - two-year term

A lifelong Evanston resident. Currently working towards his Bachelor's degree at Northwestern University and is employed at Rice Education Center located in the 9th Ward. Founder of Brother to Brother, a minority male-mentoring program.

Juneitha Shambee - two-year term

Has lived in Evanston for 13 years. Practicing attorney specializing in criminal and civil defense, with her office located in the 4th Ward. Board member of the Organization for Positive Action and Leadership (OPAL) and a board member of the Democratic Party of Evanston (DPOE).

Nyika Strickland - three-year term

Has lived in Evanston for 21 years. Partner with Kirkland & Ellis, which practice specializes in intellectual property law. Served on the executive board of School for Little Children, provided pro-bono immigration law services, and volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and the Ronald McDonald House.

Clarence Weaver - three-year term

Has lived in Evanston for 34 years. Along with his wife, Wendy, owns C&W Market in the 5th ward. Active member of Second Baptist Church and the community, board member of Y.O.U., and supports community efforts to address food insecurities in Evanston.