Hear and read all speeches from last Sunday's Rally to Support Black Lives at Fountain Square

Updated: Jun 17

More than 1,000 Evanston residents gathered at Fountain Square and spilled out into the surrounding streets last Sunday afternoon for a rally against police brutality and to support Black lives in the wake of George Floyd's murder by police officers in Minneapolis on May 25.


The event was emceed by Michael Nabors, president, and sponsored by the NAACP, Chessmen Club of the North Shore, Inc., Black Evanston Men, Kappa Alpha Psi/Evanston chapter, and the music group S.O.U.L Creations.


Hear their words. Read their words. Take action.


In order, the speakers were:

Find a bio of each speaker following the transcripts.


Rev. Dr. Michael Nabors


To all of you we say good afternoon. We are grateful for your presence in this place.


We are here and here we are likely to be.


There is someone who called me yesterday and they said, 'Dr. Nabors, how many more rallies are you going to have in Evanston?' My response was, 'I don’t know, but we’re going to have as many as are necessary.'


The kind of change that is occurring now happens once in a lifetime. We are not just protesting in the United States of America, but protests are being held all around the world. In countries that are interested in freedom and justice and putting an end to racism. We are grateful for what is happening in England, in Switzerland, in Australia, in New Zealand, in Ghana and Kenya and Zimbabwe and so many more. In those different parts of the world, people are coming together and they are saying it is enough. Racism not only has to end, but it has to be killed. It has to be buried so that it will never rise again.


That’s why we are here today.


We are grateful for your presence ... And I want you to look around and see the number of people of color who are here in Fountain Square representing the very best in humanity. Representing the very best in Evanston, Illinois. Thank you so much.


... We have great challenges that are happening in Evanston, not the least of which so many people of color are being forced to move out because they cannot afford the property taxes. They cannot afford the homes. But we’re going to put a stop to that. We’re going to make sure that this town is not just diverse in the way we talk, but we’re diverse in the way we live.


We are grateful. Some people have asked what can we do, how can we show support? There are so many ways. If you look at some of the poles that are listed here in Fountain Square there are signs on those poles that have the names of black organizations and businesses that need your support. They’ve been hit doubly hard by two viruses. One of them is called Covid-19 and the other is called racism 400 years.


We want you to be supportive of these organizations, many of them already have Go Fund Me pages. C&W Market Ice Cream Parlor, Yo Fresh Café of Evanston, Jennifer’s Edibles, Good to Go Jamaica Cuisine, Ebony Barber Shop, Eye Candy Hair Studio, Church Street Barber Shop, the Magic Shop Hair Salon, the Executive Studio.


If you don’t get your hair done at one of these places, they will gladly accept a donation.


... We are here to support the families of those who have been killed. The families of George Floyd, of our Ahmaud Arbery and of Breonna Taylor and the countless others who have been killed over the last 400 years.

Dr. Gilo Kwesi Cornell Logan


To all of you who are sick and tired of being sick and tired, please make some noise. Let me hear you. Let me hear you.


We are here to be heard and not to be silenced. It’s been too long. How long? Too long.


Eric Garner, Michael Stewart, LaQuan McDonald, Tanisha Anderson, Tamir Rice, Ahmaud Arbery, Walter Scott, Sandra Bland, Betty Jones, Travon Martin, Janet Wilson, Jermaine Reid, Philando Castille, Bothem Jean, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd.


It’s been how long? Too long.


From 1619 to today, 401 years of red, white, and blue: redlining, white supremacy, and blue walls. We need to change this.


It’s a multi-generational and seemingly hereditary trauma that we are experiencing in our community. The founding of the US was on thievery of land, on genocide, and on slavery. Let’s not be mistaken about that. That cannot be denied. And hence we must not only change people’s minds and hearts, but we must change systems. We must change structures and we must change the dominant ideology. Too many of us are stuck. Either we’re ignorant, we’re insecure, we’re confused, we’re oblivious, we’re fearful, or any combination of that.


But today we need to make a change. We are in a crisis. We have been in a crisis, a 401-year crisis. Covid-19 crisis, climate crisis, race crisis, opportunity-gap crisis, class crisis. We have an election coming up in November crisis. And we all have a choice to make.


Look at our white brothers and sisters out here. Look at our Latinx brothers and sisters out here. Look at our Asian brothers and sisters out here. Look at our Middle Eastern brothers and sisters out here. We are all here together. We thank you. We appreciate you. We see you, we feel you, and we need you all.


This is happening across the country; it’s happening in rural America. It’s happening in small towns. That’s how we know this is different this time. We are not going to go back. We are going forward. It’s happening in Ghana, in Amsterdam, in Australia. Our brothers and sisters in New Zealand - the Maori! They say Kia Kaha - stand strong, be firm in the struggle that we are fighting here today. We have a global community that has our backs. It’s happening organically. From the grassroots up is where the plant grows. That’s where the struggle begins, not from the top.


We are in great need y’all. We need prayer, but we cannot simply pray this away. We need votes, we need to vote, but we cannot merely vote this away.


We need police reform. But we cannot merely modify this away. We need an educational system reform, but we cannot purely educate this away. We need to protest, but we cannot merely march this away. We need dialogue, but we can’t talk this away. We need new systems, new institutions, new policy changes. We need new alliances and new relationships.


We need reparations.


We need a revolution as the solution. We need to not only dismantle the inequalities in our society, but we need to build up Black and Brown communities. This is constructive more than it is destructive. Starting right here in Evanston.


So, to my White brothers and sisters, Asian, Latinx, Middle Eastern and others, I ask you how would you answer the cry and how will you respond to the call?


To all the non-Black people, you can focus on the reactions that you see in the streets and the destruction, or you can understand the conditions and the context that has created that.


Black folks, we need to focus on what will help us to build our communities constructively, our youth, and our institutions. As Dr. King preached in the 1960’s, we need a revolution of values. We need a revolution of what Sai Baba says are, human values. For not only are too many White people not seeing the humanity in Black and brown people, but they have lost their own humanity because of this virus we’re all inflicted with called racism. We’re all impacted by that.


We need a new mental construct of what it means to be Black, all of us. What it means to be American, what it means to be a human being. We need a new heart. We need love, and I don’t mean Romeo and Juliet kind of love. I’m talking about a love for life, a love for our planet, a love for one another, a love for something greater than our own hedonistic selfish desires.


We need a new spirit. We need new morality, a new ethic in terms of what it means to be a human. We need a new economy. We need financial revolution. We need a healthcare revolution. We need a culture revolution in this society, and may we all galvanize in this moment.


And in closing, I say yes, we’re angry, but let’s have a righteous anger. Let’s have a righteous indignation. Let’s be tired, but righteously. Let’s do that so we don’t alienate our allies and our brothers and sisters that are out there. This is not about burning down buildings, it’s about building our own communities. But time is not our ally folks. We cannot wait. There is no longer time. This may not happen in our lifetime, but we cannot be discouraged. For our ancestors who fought and died for what we have did not see it in their lifetime, we may not see it in ours, but we must fight for our ancestors and for those future generations.


We have to remember them.


So, who are we to state we are too tired to fight? Who are we to say we are too discouraged to fight? We can’t afford to do that. There is no choice. So out of chaos, after the hurricane, after the tornado it lays ground for new order. So something constructive can come out of this destruction and it’s going to be ground for new order in our society.


We need to rebuild this new order. We need a new president, new coalitions, new relationships and a new way into our futures. Right now, 2020 has brought around 2020 vision. And for those who could not see before, maybe you can see now the multi-generational anguish and pain that our people have been feeling for over 400 years, for over 2,000 years. This was happening in Africa before we came to the US.


So, I say this time it’s different. It’s been too long. How long? Too long. Thank you, my brothers and sisters, everybody who’s out there.

Mr. Keith Terry


Evanston! Evanston. I want to thank you all for coming out. This rally was put together to show support for Black families and the protesters across America and the world. Aren’t you sick and tired? I’m sick and tired and I’m here to show support. I know that you’re here to show support and I’m just telling you that we need to fight for change in this country. I am going to say it again, we need to continue to fight for change in this country.


Am I talking a little too loud? Cause I’m going to scream a couple times while I’m up here. Y’all, for those that know me know, I’m going to say, my name is Keith Terry and I’ve lived in Evanston for 25 years. I am a father, I’m an uncle, I’m a nephew, I’m a Black man.


Evanston is a good city. Evanston is a welcoming city, but Evanston has problems too. And I thank you all for coming out here right now. So, let me just say this, when I saw the video of George Floyd begging for his life, I got mad, I got scared, I got angry. When I saw the video and heard him asking for his mother, his dead mother, I got pissed off. Because guess what, I have sons, I have a daughter, as well as you do too. And my mother called me crying because she was afraid for me and her grandchildren.


How despicable is that to look at someone, the life just leaving his body. So, I’m just telling you that it was despicable and rallies are good, but I’m going to talk a little bit about what else we can do. But before I say that, I want to say George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and the hundreds of other Black folks killed by injustice, they mattered. They mattered.


I want to take a minute, and I want you to look at the person to your left and right. Look, don’t look at me look at them. It could be the last time you see this person alive. And I want you to think about that. George woke up, he didn’t think that he was going to die. Breonna Taylor went to bed thinking that she was not going to die. And I’m just telling you that the anger that’s boiling up from all of you here Black, white, brown, Asian, Hispanic, it’s real. It’s real.


You all know that there’s injustices in this country, in this world, in the legal system, socioeconomically, police, education, healthcare and business. It’s real. But I want to take the time, a moment to talk about Covid-19.


I grew up in healthcare. I’m a 'suit,' not a doctor, not a healthcare provider, but health disparities are real. And in 2020 it has ripped the bandages off of this country and the wounds are exposed.


Covid-19 has hit the Black community hard. It is exposing health disparities. We all know that, so here’s my ask of you: the first thing that I think you could do is, you’ve got to take care of yourself. You’ve got to take care of your personal health. You’ve got to sleep right, you’ve got to advocate for yourself.


Second, if you get sick and you will, you’ve got to engage the healthcare system properly. What do I mean by that? You’ve got to call and advocate for yourself. You’ve got to talk to the healthcare provider, the hospital, the doctor, and tell them what you’re dealing with. Now is not the time to be embarrassed of ill health. That person swore an oath to take care of you.


You’ve got to put a system of support around you ... We have to look out for each other. We have to call community organizations to support you. And I don’t just mean, 'hey how ya doing,' because mental illness, mental disparity and racism is real, and it wears the body down. Am I wrong?


The last thing that I’m going to say here on Covid-19 and health disparities: you’ve got to call your local officials, your elected officials, and demand better healthcare. And demand that we have a better system to cover the cost of Covid-19, because it has gone rampant.


Let me just take a moment to talk about the socio-economic impact, because we all know that businesses have been impacted by Covid-19 as well. Folks have lost their jobs, but there is more that we can do. For those of you who hold jobs, senior jobs, you’ve got to look for ways to bring more Black and brown people into your company.


For those of you, all of us within the sound of my voice, there’s more that you can do. I say call the CEO and demand better representation. We all spend money and if you’re spending money at a place and you don’t know the makeup of their employment practices, stop. Yeah we need to eat, but stop. This is a consumer-rich country. There are things that we can do to invoke change ... We get together in a rally, but we also have the power of the purse. The power of the purse.


And the last thing I’m going to say here is we’ve got to vote. We have to vote.


You know, I’ll say most of us get up and ready to fight in a presidential election. But local politics matter. As a former school board president, I can tell you that educational policy is a local thing. Your alderman, you should know him. Your mayor, you should know him. Your elected officials, you should know them. And you’ve got to push them, push them, push them. Listen, this is about a free country, and if we don’t push, things get rolled back.


Let me end by saying this: you know I don’t want to die a senseless death. But death is coming to us all. I certainly have visions of living out life like my grandmother who lived to be 114. I certainly don’t want to go out the way other Black brothers and sisters did through injustices. Either through police brutality or Covid-19 health disparities. So, I’m just going to say this: I will never accept a world that pushes me to live a weak, scared, and voiceless life. I will never accept that, and I know you won’t either.


So, I’m going to say to you fight, fight to change your neighborhood, fight to change your city, fight to change your world, fight. Because guess what, Black lives matter. Black family’s matter. Black men matter. Fight. Fight. Fight.

Mr. Corey Winchester


Hey good people. My name is Cory Winchester. I come to you from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Thankful for my ancestors who came before me, to allow me to be here to stand before you.


I’m a high school history teacher at ETHS. What is it like teaching about a country that doesn’t see you as a human being? What is it like teaching about people that saw your body as a labor source? 'Hey, Mr. Winchester, what is it like teaching about systems and institutions that we’re supposed to put our faith in like schools, police, government in the court systems that continue to harm you?' 'Hey, Winnie, by the way can you grade this? Will you round me up to an A, I have a 92.46 percent and I really want an A.'


I am tired. As an educator we’re pulled in so many different directions: make sure you differentiate instruction; don’t forget to call the parents of failing students; be sure that your teaching is not too political. How can it not be when people that look like me are constantly murdered at the hands of the state? We're living in a nation that exists because of anti-Blackness and settler colonialism. How do I stand before young people and families with this as a reality? How would you teach about racism in the United States? How do you try to help young people of color, especially Black youth, understand that their life matters? When the reality of this world and how we live, when our histories tells us otherwise. How do you try to get white youth to understand the responsibility they have inherited to be co-conspirators in the struggle against anti-Blackness, racism, and white supremacy? We live in a society that doesn’t value the work of educators, especially Black educators. This is what I carry daily.


I have a lot of work to do, you have a lot of work to do. But what makes teaching during this context so difficult is that our community hasn’t fully owned the magnitude of the work that needs to be done. We’re seeing the reverse of a struggle for our liberation. I am Black, I am a man. Those are things that you can see about me. I’m also queer. At times I exist in a movement that tells me still that my life does not matter.


On Monday, June 1st, 2020, a mob of Black men attacked Iyanna Dior, a 21-year old Black trans woman in Minneapolis. The same city where this movement for Black lives started as a result of the death of George Floyd. In the same city. I’ve been following posts and bear witness to the ways that Black trans women have continued to defend themselves against the transphobia and homophobia that is present in our community. And this isn’t to say that this is exclusive to the Black community, because homophobia and transphobia exist in many spaces. However, if we are to be one community in this movement for Black lives, then every black life must matter.


We need to honor the voices, histories, and names of our Black women. But more specifically about our Black queer family. We cannot talk about George Floyd without talking about Breonna Taylor. And we cannot talk about Breonna Taylor without talking about Tony McDade, a black trans man killed by police in Florida earlier this year.


Breonna Taylor would’ve celebrated her 27th birthday this past Friday. In both shootings no action has been taken. We need to move with all deliberate speed and rallying for the Breonna Taylors, the Tony McDades and the Iyanna Diors in the same way we have mobilized for Travon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner and George Floyd. All of whom have been killed at the hands of state anti-Blackness and white supremacy.


I have a message for Black men: take responsibility for your actions. Examine your masculinity. Realize how toxic masculinity functions through the guise of white supremacy. Work on your own trauma and healing so that we can be liberated together. We, and I’ll say that again, Black men, we need healing. We need love. We have been through so much trauma that it blinds us often and we need to do better. Even with the identities I hold--a queer Black person, as a queer Black man--I am guilty. I am guilty of often being silent about Black trans lives. I am also guilty of being silent about other Black queer lives. I’m also guilty of being silent about the lives of Black women. I have my own actions in this work and need to be an actual co-conspirator. Even though I am tired. But this is hard work.


I must fight for all the Black lives who have come before, who are here now, and who will come after. If you’re about this movement, you must be a co-conspirator for all the Black lives who have come before you, who are here now, and who will come after you. And this message extends to white folks too. We have to make a decision to be in the struggle. Because I am tired. I don’t want to have to teach and continue to answer these questions about racial oppression and trauma in the United States. Let’s change that reality especially for our youth and future generations.


Let’s change that reality for me and others like Iyanna Dior and for our Black trans family who is 195 times higher than the average person to be a victim of a homicide. 195. We cannot be here in this room for Black lives if we are not here for all Black lives.


To any white person in this audience, take up this fight. While the impact of racism seems like it’s just my reality, it’s not. It’s not just my fight. I did not cause it, I did not start it. I didn’t ask for it. Your ancestors did. And it’s the inheritance that we all have. This is yours to help solve. You have a choice and a choice that can continue to leave our entire society in a perpetual state of dehumanization. Think about the questions I began with and imagine having that conversation with your children year in and year out. 'Hey mom, what’s it like for us to sit by and live in a country that doesn’t see Mr. Winchester as a human being?' 'Hey dad, what’s it like to sit by and live in a country that sees Mr. Winchester as an object only good for making our family financially wealthier, for letting our family live in this house, have these things, this community and travel the world?' 'Hey uncle, what’s it like for you to sit by and watch the systems in our country like capitalism, like the schools, like the prisons, like our government, like the police, like the military, like our healthcare, things that we have the luxury of trusting, continue to hurt people like Mr. Winchester.' 'Oh, by the way mom, can you email him and ask him to bump my grade up to an A?'


No thank you to that reality. I want a better reality. I am tired of this, you should be too. We have a lot of work to do. What will you do?


Mr. Carlis Sutton


Good afternoon, participants in this rally and the Evanston United Committee. First let me commend all of your families who came out here today and took a risk to be exposed to Corona-19 Virus. You brought your families so thank you for coming out here to support us at this pandemic time.


In the Bible, the Old Testament, we find these words, Amos Fifth Chapter, 13th verse. 'Therefore, the prudent shall keep silent in that time for it is an evil time.' The message explains it a little different way. It says, justice is a lost cause. Evil is epidemic. Decent people throw up their hands, protests and rebuke are useless. It’s all a waste of breath.


If we listen to the prophet Amos, we should all shut up and go home. If we are smart, all of us, and all of our rallies, our marches and demonstrations are a waste of time. But wait a minute here. Amos had a good friend and they didn’t include his remarks in the Scriptures. By the way, his friend was Andy. Andy was wise. Ask your grandparents on the way home.


Brothers and sisters, Andy had another perspective. He explained it this way, Thomas Jefferson was writing diligently in his study. He told his sons he couldn’t be disturbed at this time for he was writing something very important. The younger brother could not read, so he asked his older brother to come into the study after Thomas left to read to him what was so important. The older brother looked at what was on the desk and it says something about a preamble. The younger brother asked, well, what does it say? Was daddy thinking about us? the younger brother asked. The older brother said he certainly was. We the property of the United States in order to form a more perfect union, we are no longer property. But we must change the things that are here today.


Why is this different? Why is this different from any other time? The significance of this time is we now demand enforcement. We ain’t begging, we’re asking for you to give us the same things that you get. All the laws, all the rhetoric, and policy will change because universally now, as I look on the TV, every hamlet, every city in America and in Europe, Black lives matter. They matter here too. And in fact, if you want to request justice, we have to go down to 26th and California.


Now the one thing I notice when I went down there on jury duty, it was just us there. So now there’s diversity and security in demanding these changes.


Well, what part does Evanston play? We have a history of getting things done. Evanston added an amendment to the Constitution. Although it eventually was repealed, but women who did not make up the majority in Congress at that time, accomplished their goal. No, we’re talking about and we’ll use the same format again W W W, no not the worldwide web, wealthy white women. And we’re asking the others in this community that changes made you’re now wise white women or referred to as suburban moms.


Women marched at the inauguration. At the greatest numbers of any appearance that we’ve ever had in Washington DC. I’m asking you to accomplish this one more time. I’m asking for one more miracle. I’m asking you to ride that blue wave and ride it to replace every racist Republican in the Senate.


This November, I have another request: that not only do you elect Biden but make sure there’s a sister standing by him.


In Evanston, we have saved Harley Clark. We are asking you locally to implement now and fund the restoration of the mansion and to contribute generously to the CNP.


Why am I so optimistic that this will have a positive affect in Evanston? Because I've seen it occurring already. I’ve asked my young students that I taught here the first thing I want you to do is get rid of that electoral college. Why do 535 people choose the president for 300 million? I’m a little confused. Are we a democracy or an oligarchy? Who runs this country? The 535 people on Capitol Hill or the 500 who sit on Fortune 500 on Wall Street.


I see the students at the high school having rallies to stop the violence in our schools. I see the three M’s in this community making a significant contribution. And I want to thank those, Brother Mayne, Brother Meo, Brother Morangne, Brother Rucker, the Shockley’s, the Pierres and other brothers too numerous to name. Thank you, young brothers, keep the fight up.


Don’t suffocate this opportunity for change. Don’t let this opportunity go. We are trying to form a more perfect union.


I can’t breathe. Change the community.


I can’t breathe. Find affordable housing.


I can’t breathe. Not gentrification.


I can’t breathe. Fund reparations.


I can’t breathe. Thank you.


Mr. Nic Davis


Any system established during the institution of American slavery can never truly serve those who are oppressed. The criminal justice system is no exception. Early law enforcement in the US was used to complete the genocide of indigenous peoples, protect private land, suppress working families fighting for fair wages and safe working conditions, and to preserve slavery. Since the end of enslavement, this country has orchestrated political campaigns such as the war on the crime, the war on drugs, and enacted laws on federal, state, and local levels to criminalize this solely based on race. The proof is in the data which is indisputable, even here in Evanston.


Black Evanstonians, while being only 18 percent of the population and declining, made up 73 percent of all police pat downs last year. This is not the fault of any one individual officer, it is the fault of a system succeeding at what it was designed to do which is create and maintain barriers for Black and brown people.


Dr. Angela Davis said, it is not enough to be non-racist, you have to be anti-racist. That means if you want to consider yourself an ally you can’t ignore it, you must act in the fight against it. When it comes to policing, this means it’s not enough to simply not be a bad cop. You must be actively ridding system of bad police. You cannot wash your hands of culpability if you’re not doing everything you can to rid us of the racist, murderous colleagues and unjust laws that you swore an oath to uphold.


How many non-lethal use of force incidents against Black Evanstonians need to happen before one of us gets killed? Or can we do something that yields tangible results before then? Not a conversation, not a seat at the table where we get talked over but real decision-making power. Why is no one from the community involved in the final say so of who does and doesn’t get to protect our community? The people of Evanston, Black people especially who are forced to interact with officers more than anybody else, needs to decide the fate of the officers who harm us. It is the community whose trust they break every time they unnecessarily stop us, unnecessarily arrest us, unnecessarily harass us, unnecessarily abuse us. Black and brown cops do not equate to justice. Three out of the six people who killed Freddie Gray in Baltimore were Black. Unfortunately, all skin folk ain’t kin folk.


There was a point in time when I thought a good cop could create changes in the system and I even wanted to be a part of that change. So, I’m not here to tell anybody what to believe, but I do believe in educating us. I especially want our schools to teach our kids lessons that reinforce white supremacy and devalue their ancestor’s contribution to society.


America is in debt to us, the Black community as Dr. King said, 'we’re coming to get our check.' The 2020/ 2021 Evanston Police Department budget does not need to be $20 million more than the budget for the library, parks and rec, community service, and health and human services budgets combined. Divest from policing, defund policing, and give Black people the money, the programs, and the support white people have been giving yourselves for forever.


When you hear people say, 'abolish the police,' we’re not saying take all the jails and the cops away tomorrow. This system was built over centuries, so we can’t expect it to be destroyed and have a fool-proof alternative the next day. However, we can seek meaningful methods of dismantling it and not settle for crumbs of reform.


NYPD banning choke holds in 1993 was a police reform, and as evidenced by the murder of Eric Garner, it’s still used over 20 years later with impunity. A recent study of the nation’s 37 largest police departments show that 24 percent of officers nationwide--that’s 1 in 4--are rehired after losing their job due to misconduct. This is why we say dismantle, divest, and defund rather than reform.


Reform looks like three strikes laws. Reform looks like mandatory minimum sentences. Reform looks like life without parole. All of these are promoted to us, the American people, and passed under the guise of deterring crime. When in reality they've resulted in the further persecution and execution of the Black community. We don’t need reform, what we need is to dismantle the system that has been against Black people since inception.


What helps the most marginalized of us can only advance us as a whole. Equity is only threatening when you have something to lose, and you only have something to lose because it never belonged to you in the first place.


EPD Chief Demitrous Cook


I didn’t give up my Blackness for this white shirt. I didn’t give up my Blackness for a bureaucratic society either. And I didn’t give up my Blackness to my people in this community. I got high respect for everybody in this town.


My job is to serve and protect.


Now, how we go about doing that means a lot to me. You know when I first came to this town I was in a car with a white policeman who was my field training officer. And he took me to the 1400 block of Foster and he said, 'Watch it over here. Those people that live over there are animals.'


Well that couldn't be further from the truth. And it couldn't be further from the truth to think that the good men and women of the Evanston Police Department don’t have fault. It couldn't be further from the truth to think that they didn’t analyze Mr. Floyd’s death. Everybody that I know in that police department is upset over it. But they continue to come to work and do a good job.


A couple of months ago I had a great conversation with Dr. Felicia Parsons of District 65. And she came into my office and educated me about trauma. Trauma to the young children. And she said, 'Chief Cook, you know everything that you all do as law enforcement officers affects our children.'


And I say, 'Well how so Dr. Parsons?'


She says, 'Every time a siren comes down the street and the kids are playing and cops get out with their handguns, that’s trauma.' She said, 'Every time the police do a raid on a narcotics spot and they knock the door in and its children in there, that’s trauma.'

Now I grew up in this town from some real heavy hitters. And they ain’t famous in this town. They were just good people in this town that meant serious business. And you know I’ve been a policeman for 40 years so I’m going back a minute.


It was, Mr. Marshall Giles told me going in his barber shop at Church and Dodge. He told me, 'Don’t come in my barber shop if you ain’t about treating people with respect.' So, I’m shocked about that. So I go around the corner, and I go in to Mr. Sam Johnson’s barber shop. He said, 'Oh, you the new foot patrolman out here? Sit down I got to talk to you.' And the conversation was about me being out in the community doing a good job and treating people with respect.


Now people in this town that know me know that that’s what I’m about. I didn’t come here to play games with the police officers. If a police officer is correct under the law, I’m going to stand up for him. But if he’s wrong, I’m going to do what I'm supposed to do in terms of discipline.


Now, the Congressional Black Caucus, which is being led by Democrat from California Karen Bass, they coming out with a new reform act, a police reform act. You need to go home and take a look at that. The time has been passed for reform ... Up to this point we have not persevered in making true police reform. We did a few good things along the way, you know, with the independent commission on the Rodney King event. President Barack Obama came out with 21st Century Policing which was a great article. But why do we fall off? Ask yourself that. Ask yourself, why do we fall off in the midst of what’s going on today in the world with holding everybody accountable? This is a pervasive injustice to Black people that has been going on ... My mama come from Alabama. She can tell you some great stories.


I was born in Birmingham, Alabama. We left there to come up here. Now, it’s your duty, as well as the police officer’s duty, to make things right. I want to see things right in our neighborhoods--Black on Black. I want to see things done right in our neighborhood white on Black. I want people to stand up for our Hispanic brothers and for my Hispanic brothers that’s in this gang war in Chicago, I ask the leaders of those gangs to reconsider what they doing to each other.


I want good, wholesome, kind policing for gays and lesbians in this world. And so your perseverance is definitely needed. We don’t get this that often. This is the first time I’ve seen this magnitude of protests in my life.


The police department can’t run from police reform. The police department can’t run from citizen involvement. The police department can’t run from injustice. Let me tell you something that was said, and this rings true today: The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon public approval of police actions. When you look at the organizational structure of government, it ain’t the mayor that’s at the top, it ain’t the city manager that’s at the top. It’s the people that’s at the top. And I’m asking for your approval as a police officer to continue and to work to do a better job. That is my mission.


Ms. Liana Wallace


I am tired. The collective breath they took out of us. I can’t breathe. I am sick. Tired no more hope to give.

Tired of knowing that I will have to feed my Black children survival before their Cheerios.


Our founding fathers left us with this: “Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”


I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America

That it will look in the mirror today Dig up the soil and stare at the bodies it stands upon

Indigenous

That this is America

And her name was America

When you stripped us naked like animals

And heard the clincking of our chains

When you raped my aunties

And then forced them to nurse the babies your wife didn't have time to

And then erased that part from the history book

And screamed at a Black man kneeling during a football game

And watched white students walk on campuses

Dropping banana peels in front of Black affinity spaces

That this is America

And her name was America

When you burned Rosewood and Black Wall Street to the ground

When you told members of the KKK that they would be more powerful In white suits and blue uniforms Policing

That this is America

And her name was America

Hands trembling

Something shattered

Broken dismembered

Maybe Emmet Till told us we were already sick and we never listened

We’ve been coughing ever since Medger Evers James Byrd Natasha Harlins Rodney King Trayvon Martin Eric Garner Sandra Bland Tamir Rice Aiyana Jones Freddie Gray Philando Castile Ahmaud Arbery Breonna Taylor George Floyd

And the child I will someday have with Black death imprinted like barcode on brown skin

And her name was America

And her name is America

And her name will be America

When I am shouting into this microphone

Standing here Jewish and Black

Spanish randomly rolling off my tongue

From stolen people Immigrant people

That her name will be America

Even when we can’t stand her

Even when we burn her flag

When we set fire to corporations

That this is America

That this is America

That we have nothing to lose but our chains

Gagging on a story that keeps repeating

That this is America

That this will be America

Even as we re-write her

Even as we take your seats in office

Even as we tell your grandchildren what you failed to tell them

Even as we uplift trans voices and read Black lives matter like bedtime stories to our children

Even as you beat us in the head over

And over and over

And act confused as we remain screaming

Even as we stop dancing for you

Even as we stop performing for you and your white daughters who want Black men and Black babies without knowing how to comb their hair

Even as we defund police

Even as the movement you thought would last a week turns into a lifetime

That this is America

And her name is America

That we are

That I am

An American

As we say no more minor reforms

As we defund police

As we reclaim our own communities

And stop placing policing like a bandaid

That policing could never be the bandaid for failing education systems

That policing could never be the bandaid for poverty

That policing could never be the bandaid for Black women facing domestic violence who face the dual dichotomy of wanting help but know that calling the police could bring Black death to the community

That when we scream revolution

When we say that policing is inherently racist

That this too shall be American

That her name is America

That Revolutionaries are American

That we are

That I am American

Sincerely our founding fathers,


“When a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Objective evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. - Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.”


Mr. Robert Bady


If you can repeat after me just real quickly, 'Never forget 8:46. 8:46 never forget.'


Now the world is looking at how mass incarceration has shaped our lives as Black Americans. There’s an article written in the New York Times by David Leonhardt this week titled, When Jail Becomes Normal. And I’d like to read a few excerpts from that.


'Close to 10 percent of Black men in their 30s are behind bars on any given day, according to the Sentencing Project. Incarceration rates for Black men are about twice as high of those of Hispanic men. Five times higher than those of white men, and at least 25 times higher than those of Black women, Hispanic, or white women. When the government last counted how many Blacks had ever spent time in a state or federal prison in 2001, the share was 17 percent. Today it’s likely closer to 20 percent and this number doesn’t include people who have spent time in jail without being sentenced to prison in prison. The comparable number for white men is about three percent.'

.

'A recent study by the economists Patrick Bayer and Kerwin Kofi Charles found that 27 percent of Black men in prime working years of their lives between the ages of 25 and 54 didn’t report earning a single dollar of income in 2014.


'That’s a massive number,' Charles, the dean of the Yale School of Management, told me. Incarceration, including the aftereffects, was a major reason.'


'The anger coursing through America’s streets over the past week has many causes, starting with a gruesome video showing the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. But that anger has also been building up for a long time. It is, in part, anger about incarceration having become normal.'


It reminds me of a time right here in Evanston, and I have to admit, because I have a neighbor who has license plates--and she happens to be white--but her license plate says 'Heavanston.'


It hasn’t been Heavenston for a whole lot of Black folk.


It reminded me of a time when jail became normal for my 12-year-old son Ian. Ian was a middle schooler and he decided to get with some friends, who all happen to be Black, in downtown Evanston at the Burger King. Has anyone black ever hung out at the Burger King?


The police report later showed that 20 Black middle-school kids were being tracked and followed for two hours and 45-minutes. There were three white officers assigned or dispersed from headquarters to see about these children.


Now if you had seen the video that I’ve seen, that my wife and I saw at the headquarters with the former Chief of Police, you would’ve been protesting in the street for how these children were treated. Just like we are here today because a Black man got the life choked out of him from a white cop’s knee. If you had seen that video. My goodness.


But today this is where it starts for young Black children and it ends with a knee on the neck.


At 6:03 p.m. the call from the owners of the Burger King, or someone in the vicinity, called the cops on the kids.


At 6:26 p.m. these kids were running around downtown just being kids, they were actually now part of a connection to a robbery. You see how fast this goes.


At 6:56 the cops stopped the juveniles and warned them and said, 'if you don’t disperse, we’re going to take it to the next level.' And I guess that next level reached the Chief, and he gave the order to arrest.


7:24 p.m. there is an arrest for little Frankie from Schute Middle School at the time in 2017, he was put in handcuffs.


At 7:45 p.m. there was another arrest and that was Ian, my son, along with a young man who was driving the bike who didn’t get arrested and who was Black, and then there was another young Black girl who was on the handle bars, she got arrested.


So Ian and ShaSha got arrested. Was there a call to home? No. And what was the cause? Obstruction of traffic. An ordinance violation which turned into an arrestable offense.


Now obviously these policemen were actually practicing great de-escalation would you agree? It looked like the full escalation tactics were on display. And my daughter Carmya, and a teacher right over here at the Starbucks, right in front of the Starbucks, tried to de-escalate the situation by talking to the cops and saying, Hey, that’s my little brother. Just call my parents.'


Not only that, the teacher tried to de-escalate the situation by talking to the cops. 'I know him, and I know her. Can you release them into my custody?'


No.


My son was put in the paddy wagon along with the girl and that was the end of that. This is how we get to the knee on George Floyd’s neck. It starts at 12-years old.


And this might have been George Floyd’s ending, but this is now our new beginning. Thank God that Ian had some parents who cared for him, and along with the NAACP, and along with the ACLU, and along with the James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy, and a few other high level lawyers that were in town, we were able to put pressure on the city, on the mayor, on the Evanston Police Department. And not only did my son get an expungement, but they changed the way that they actually police our Black children. And they have to call the Youth and Young Adult group now to deal with this kind of situation.


And in closing, all I wanted in the end was expungement, for some kind of law to change because they made a lot of mistakes. And I do realize there are some great cops on Evanston Police Department. And I support them. People like Adam Howard who runs the Officer and Gentleman Academy. Outstanding officers like Loyce Spells, Benoit. I could go on forever. But this is not about that.


All I wanted was for these officers to be reconciled with my son. And I wanted them in Starbucks with my son to sit down for a hot cocoa and say, 'Hey, this is what went down. I’m sorry.' And we move on in a very good way.


But I was not afforded that.


The former City Manager had to drag our former police chief, he dragged him into the Starbucks kicking and screaming. But the people who really needed to be there were the officers. The five officers, three of them that were white and two were Black. I won’t mention their names, I won’t throw them out there like that, but they know who they are. And you still owe that restorative justice to my son, to all of these Black young people out here who come downtown, because it’s theirs too.


But now the police are on their knees, they’re actually getting on their knees beside people. That’s interesting. I couldn’t get them to come over to Starbucks. But I challenge our current brass. I challenge our current chief to get these kids together. Those 20 kids, and I know all of their names, to get those kids together with those policemen and let’s make sure that there is some restorative justice, and let’s get this relationship back on track.


As a child I had a big fondness for Dr. King, and I would commit to my memory some of his speeches. And I used to do that but I’m just going to end with a little bit.


What happened with George Floyd never needs to happen again. 'Truth crushed to earth will rise again.' It might rise in the form of the video. It might rise in the form of a young man being taken out with a knee. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.'


Justice is emerging. Justice is emerging. The revolt is taking place all the way in Amsterdam. All the way in Copenhagen, all the way in London, all the way in France.


Justice is emerging. Justice is emerging. George Floyd, justice is here. Justice is here.


Judge Lionel Jean-Baptiste


Brothers and sisters, thank you very much for your sacrifices, because standing in that hot sun like that, I know it involves some suffering. But we know it’s in the fight back that we bring about a better day. I want to thank the organizers and to say to them that what they have done is in the tradition. That’s how we fight back, we mobilize and we move the process forward.


I’m wearing a t-shirt that Bobby Burns had created in 2009 when he organized some folks to fight back against police brutality in the City of Evanston. So, we don’t know what year we could go to where there were no incidents in Chicago, in the nation, or what have you. We’re at war on a consistent basis, so we realize that our history is one of forward movement and sometimes backward movement. But the bottom line, the trajectory towards justice has been the strongest movement. Because from 1619, brothers and sisters, to 2020, it looks a little different, doesn’t it?


Because we’re not being snatched from the boats and being sold on the auction blocks. We're not. We fought some battles. Every day that Africans were enslaved, they fought back.


The myth of submission is just that, it’s a myth. And it’s passed on to families through education, through legends through all kinds of talk. But it’s been the fighting back that has shaped this nation to be what it is today.


You have to understand that while we have suffered some setbacks, the sacrifices of our people, the Denmark Veseys, the Nat Turners, the Gabriel Prossers, all of those who have fought back shape what we have today. Beyond slavery, during the period of racist terror, Jim Crow terror, imagine that our brothers and sisters were told that you could not vote. That was the law initially. Then it was changed, and there were some obstacles because you had to count, you had to guess the number of beans inside a big jar to vote. And people persisted anyway.


Imagine the intensity, the courage, the hope to move forward. So, while we suffer setbacks, the motion forward is the absolute. And we are never going to go backwards, we’re going to go forward.


So, we know from those of us who study history, and everybody ought to make sure that they study history, because for my white friends and allies, racism has been passed down like a family heirloom. Unless you cut it in the path. Unless you engage in the struggle. Unless you engage in the fight back, you cannot teach your children otherwise.


Some of our parents in the local school system have protested that 'why should we be celebrating or doing anything about Black history month,' because some parents feel that they celebrated Martin Luther King's Birthday, so why should they be teaching anybody about Black history month.


The fight to transform our society is a constant engagement and it’s a constant learning experience as well. So we cannot keep passing these traditions to our children and likewise for Black folks, we have to make our children hopeful. And where they get that hope is from studying history. It’s from understanding the lessons from the courage that our people have manifest over time.


So, you’ve got to teach them that they cannot be caught up with the photograph of the guns and the drugs and all the rest of those things. They’ve got to look at the trajectory over time. They’ve got to overcome the present situation. And so on a local level, well, even on a national level, we have to understand that leadership is our responsibility. To exercise power, you’ve got to engage in the process. And that’s what we’re doing right now.


Leadership is our responsibility. Many of you and many of our parents could do better than our current President in the White House, we know that. So as leadership at the local level, leadership at the local level involves District 65, District 202, City Council, and I don’t know whether you know this, but there is a Civil Service Commission as well that leans into the process of decision-making when we try to pick police officers and firefighters. We have to be around the table to make those decisions.

Some folks are talking about again pursuing the community school in the 5th Ward. Because if you know the history, you know it’s closed. Black people used to only be able to go to Foster School. Well, there is a movement to try to rebuild that school so that kids who live in that community can have a residential school, a community school. Well a number of the parents who rejected the notion of having to go to the black community to send their kids to school but they encourage busing of our children throughout the city.


So, you’ve got to understand. You’ve got to be involved at District 65 and District 202. You’ve got to join the fight and remember there’s the question of state Rep., there’s the question of State Senator, there’s a question of Congressional seats. You’ve got to engage in the fight. If you don’t engage in the fight, then you’re just observing the world. You just acting like you’re comfortable.


But there is no comfort in this because for Black men, we know that we are always menaces to society. We know that if you’re walking in Central Park and you ask a white woman to leash her dog, she could rev up the family heirloom of racism and call on police terror to be unleashed upon you because you’re a menace to society. If you are Tamir Rice, you’re a kid playing with your toy gun in a park, you’re a menace to society. A police officer can just roll up and shoot you with impunity.


You know that if you’re Eric Garner selling some loosies, that a police officer can come and put a choke hold on you and kill you. You know that if you are George Floyd, that you have a counterfeit $20--or not. There was no jury, there was no trial. That some police officer can come and take your life for it because they perceive you as a menace to society.


But we’ve got to fight back consistently. Don’t loose hope for one second. Don’t believe that you’re losing for one second. Suffer when you need to suffer so you can be redemptive in your fight back. So stay up.



Mr. Jude Laude


My name is Jude Laude. I’m from this village we call Evanston. I am a father, I am a son, I am an uncle, I am a friend, I am a school board member and I’m a black man in the United States of America. And I am not doing well right now. I am not okay.


For the last several days, the collective impact of generational and historical trauma that Black people have had for over 400 years, that trauma has been triggered as it has been over and over and over and over and over again.


We are tired. We are tired.


There are different aspects to your personality. And when you’re fighting for your life, the soldier must come out and cry out for survival. We are tired.


There needs to be a transformational change. There needs to be transformational change. As Dr. King said, 'We must build a new blueprint for society. We must build a new framework for society.' Because this one has had its knee on our necks for generations and generations.


What will the new blueprint for society look like? What will the foundation and the building blocks consist of? At the very basic of this new framework for society, there must be structural economic redistribution of wealth.


Here, in this town, we’ve been impacted by redlining, which involved unfair lending practices. Home ownership, Black home ownership in Evanston, the city that I love, has greatly declined. We’re being pushed out.


Wake up Evanston. Wake up. Look at what’s happening. Look at what’s happening. Let’s allow our current state to pierce our collective consciousness. At the very foundation is the economics, then we must have true political representation.


What good does it do if I blindly vote Democrat? If in 1816, after the Civil War, Black folks owned half of one percent of the wealth of this country. In the year 2020, half of one percent of the wealth in this country. Evanston is this fair?


The unemployment rate here in Evanston, especially for Black males, is alarming. When I was running for school board, I’ll never forget I would be on the train platforms from 9 in the morning, from 7 in the morning, 6 in the morning, making sure I caught the wave. Then in the afternoon, I’d be there when people went home. I was amazed to see the flood of people coming from outside of Evanston to work in Evanston, and at 5 p.m. when they clocked out they’re leaving our community, and a Black man can’t get a job or a position in Evanston, Illinois in 2020.


Let not our votes end up in broken promises. Let not our votes end up in broken promises. We can shamelessly say that we will vote for those who are ready to protect our interests like the interests of every single person here today.


The wealth gap in Evanston is alarming. Politics is a vehicle to distribute wealth, resources, and power. When we look at the socio-economic condition of the Black men and women here in Evanston, you tell me, how has politics looked out for us all? The proof is not there? Let’s tell the truth. Let’s tell the truth.


Transparency must go hand in hand with politics. I’ve seen too many Black men, respectable, intelligent, brilliant, caring, and loving Black men, lose their positions and get run out of town because they have enough courage to speak the truth.


Then were working with the building blocks, a new framework for society. What else will this blueprint entail? You got your economics, the basic foundation. If you don’t have leverage, which I’m quite sure any one who knows how this town and any other town works, please stop telling us and just go and vote. Let’s tell the truth. If you don’t have any economic leverage, your vote will mean nothing.


Criminal justice system. I grew up in a town where I saw Chief Cook walk these streets. I was in and out of Chief Logan’s house, eating their food. I can tell you now you have brother Adam Howard. Officer Howard doing great work with the young men. You have Officer Lloyce Spells, he cares about this community. Will get up any hour of the night to come see about our children.


However, for those of you who cannot find your place in this new framework of police engagement with our community and you feel compelled to harass, and you feel compelled to profile, and you feel compelled to brutalize, or you feel compelled to take the ultimate gift from someone--their life, there’s no place for you in this community.


And I love this community. I love this community.


This new framework must be devoid of excessive charges, trumped-up charges, framing of our Black men, criminalizing them so that they cannot work in their own community when they catch these felonies that shouldn’t be felonies in the first place.


There are two more levels. The next is the media. The media must work for everyone. It can’t just be a tool that is all too often prepared to lift up the challenges of the Black and brown communities and not as eager to lift up the assets of the community. We have a lot to offer. We built this country.


For those of you who say we got two and three people on the school board, Blacks, Latinos, Black and brown people, Asian. We got several in District 202, again tell the truth. If you do not have the economic leverage, you do not have the political leverage, you’re not being criminalized that destroys your future. And the media is learning on you, or just lifting up the negative of you, this educational system in Evanston will never transform, tell the truth.


It needs to work for everybody.

So we going to build this new framework that is filled with a lot of fight and determination and collective action. If it could be done anywhere, it can be done in Evanston. Let’s serve as a model for the national and the world to see that there are caring human, humane, loving, caring individuals coming out of a small place called E-town, Illinois.


Everybody, we’re ready to send the message out to the world that we care, we love.


Those of you who are privileged, brothers and sisters, what I’m asking of you, and what the movement is asking of you, ask yourself this: how can I leverage my privilege? How can I leverage my privilege to transform the society? All politics are local, let’s deal with the stuff that we have going on in Evanston right now, which mirror what’s happening everywhere.


We fought in the Revolutionary War to free this country. We belong here. All Black and brown people belong here. We played a part in the building of this country. We are part of the fabric of this nation.


Some of our people are from Angola. This next song is a tribute to all the kings and queens that have perished under the hands of the police. Please, everyone in solidarity, when you make a fist and bring the fingers together and you clench them--it’s harder to separate us. And I truly believe in this great town that we will take this journey together and transform our reality.


(Sings Wongolo (Angola))


Mr. Ayinde Jean-Baptiste


I want to give a shout out to the Potawatomi and Ho-Chunk and the Menominee.


So, we are here talking about the theft of the lives of descendents of stolen people, on stolen land, and a bunch of folks are embarrassed about looting. Right? Is that right?


I didn’t write no bars, I don’t have no songs in my pocket, I was brought almost to tears. One of the things, one of those lyrics (inaudible) that means roughly it’s the invocation for young people to come to the gods of their ancestors. Now, I’m not a Christian, but Jesus was lynched. And my queer family, Stonewall was a riot led by black trans women. So, what are you talking about?


There’s people out here who heard about this day, were invited to this day, and I’m going to try to do well. At the time that they came out they were embarrassed, they were embarrassed at these young people with no degrees and you know like no education and no savoir fair running around in the streets.


And they wanted to say yo, they out here. This is not right. This is not the way to dissent.


But I have to tell you when I see in LA they’re talking about major steps to defund the police.


When I see the Minneapolis City Council talking about maybe like police is not what we need at all.


Then I feel like for those who are embarrassed, like maybe you’re embarrassed because people got up in the street after hundreds of years, and decades, and even just these last four months, where the system told them over and over again that they didn’t care about them, they didn’t care about their voices, they didn’t care about their votes, and they tore down some capital, right? And in two weeks some things are actually changing faster than any of these votes changed anything.


I’m not sure that I can add a whole lot to what Nick Davis and what brother Winchester and what that young sister Liana gave you. But I’m going to say this: a couple weeks ago a sister of mine called me weeping because there’s enough without George Floyd or Tony McDade or Breonna Taylor. There’s always something to weep about. She said, 'I don’t know. what does liberation look like?' And I can’t tell you that I know what that is, but I’m going to just tell you the things that came through me when she asked me. And if you’re here and you’re about that, then you know do something.


My big brother Jude said, if you got some privilege risk it. So, we could talk about that, but I’m going to say liberation looks like, so far as I can tell, quiet to hear the voices of our ancestors and descendants.


Space to live our purposes and destinies.


Time and access to feel the earth, and touch the sun, and a deep practice of care and honor for each other’s humanity and divinity.


And if you think that’s like feel-good shit then you don’t know about the strength of the spirit and what that looks like in practice and action. Sometimes what that looks like is self-defense.


You know, Jude said tell the truth. Last time I was in a crowd this large or this mixed, I got myself in trouble. I was at Niles North High School talking about truth in Black history month. And afterwards I had to do a next set, which was like a teach-in with a whole bunch of faculty and staff to try to figure out how they were going to handle the outcome of what I said.


Listen, here’s what I’ll say. I want you to listen critically. I want you to continue to talk to each other and among each other. And I want you to think about the things that was said today that were true. Think about the things that were radical, and think about the things that were said out of fear. Think about the things that were said because people want to hold on to the structures that we have right now and are afraid to imagine something new and something different.


I want to ask you to be brave.


Being brave doesn’t mean not being afraid, it just means going on. I don’t know what tomorrow is going to look like, but I want to imagine it and build it together with you. And it can’t look like what today looks like.


So many people were talking in the last couple months about 'going back to normal.' Man, normal is killing us. Normal is still killing us. Imagine something else, y’all. And listen critically, think critically, cause we are not all saying the same things. And we don’t all have to, but we’ve got to find a way forward and sometimes that means we have to dare.


Sometimes that means we have to be bold.


I’m not going to leave you with no rah-rah slogans, that’s not what I’m feeling right now. We’ve got to all play our positions and bring the thing that our ancestors sent us with. The thing that gives you joy, the thing that makes you feel alive. Bring that into the service of justice and freedom. And you have done what you came here to do.


Dr. Hardy Murphy


Right now I’m hurting pretty bad.


I was brought up here by my good friend Terri Shepard and a man who would be speaking here today, who was the Blackest man I know, and his name was Lloyd Shepard. We once had a dream about some things here at Evanston. And one of them was the African-Centered Curriculum.


So, the ACC was considered to be this educational process that helped Black children to flower. Because what we poured into them was nothing but pride and grace. And we took a trip with two board members down to Chicago because they have an African Centered program down there.


One was a skeptical board member and the other was open-minded. And in this conversation with the Imam down there who was running their ACC he said that they taught their children to be divine. And the board member that was skeptical said, 'ah, now I know why we can’t do this in Evanston. Because we are violating church and state. And the Imam did not blink and looked at him and said, 'No my brother. We teach our children that perfection is divine. And they were made in the eyes of the Lord who knew that he was putting perfection on this earth in the form of these beautiful young Black brothers and sisters.'

So, in order for us to follow this excellent way, there are some things that we all must do. And Black folk, right now I am talking to you. We have to teach every young Black boy out there to respect every young Black girl out there. We have to teach them that hands are for holding and not for hitting. We have to teach them that their strong arms are to hold each other up. Cause they’re going to have trouble along the way.


So, for me it was about teaching these children a more excellent way. And I understand the program is struggling now and believe me folks, programs don’t fail, people fail programs. So, if you have inside of you the history of what we talk about as kings and queens, you get up off your behind and go over to Oakton School and you help support that ACC.


Because I’m talking about, what we going to do after the protests?


Something’s got to happen because I was here in ’68 singing and moaning, 'We shall overcome.' And I sung the dirge of 'Stormy the road we Trod'.


I don’t want to sing those things no more. I want us to say, 'We will overcome.' I want us to chant it. I don’t want us to talk about 'some day.' The indefinite position of some day I can get what was rightfully mine to begin with. I’m not the one for that. Not anymore.


And this thing about us being polarized and wondering how we got that way, hell we’ve been the dividing line between Black and white since the very day we got off the ship and walked onto these shores. We are the dividing line between what is right and what is wrong and what is black and what is white.

Now, that dividing line is red and blue. Now everyone knows that the dividing line is red and blue, and every Black person out here is a blue person. So now I’m going to talk to my white brothers and sisters.

You can count the number of Black people that voted for the person who’s in the White House on one finger. But every one of you others out there knows plenty of people who voted for him, and your job is to turn them out to vote blue. Cause we will be voting blue.


So, all of you voters that want to talk about policies: there is but one policy. And that policy is to save every child in America so they don’t grow up and have to do what we’re doing today. If you want a policy here in Evanston, make a policy that there will be no child that goes hungry to bed at night. And so we got a rocky economy. And so everybody in the red state will tell you that Black will need to get up go to work and not take a welfare check. But let me ask you, how many of those welfare Republicans in the red state sent back their stimulus check?


So we know that if we got enough money to send checks to people in the red states, there shouldn’t be one child that goes hungry to bed at night. That is not right.


So where do we find this more excellent way? And why is it different today than it was all those years ago? We talk about Dr. King, but Malcom was there. We talk about Dr. King but Malcom was there. We talk about Dr. King, but Huey was there. We talk about Dr. King, but Fred Hampton was there. And you know, you have to understand that when that man had his knee on George Floyd’s neck, he was killing every Black panther that ever lived. He was killing every Civil Rights marcher that ever walked the streets and demonstrated for the equality of man.

So some things haven’t changed, but I can tell you that when I look out here, change is on the way.

Ms. Lauren Davis


So Cory Winchester was my sociology teacher my senior year at ETHS. And he’s played a large part in some of the ways that I’ve been radicalized. And he is one of the main reasons I’m currently a candidate for Teacher Certification. So it only makes sense that my remarks mirror his.


Black live matter.


It seems like a simple enough statement, certainly not the kind that can be debated nor made complicated. But somehow there are several people who do not seem to grasp the full range of this statement. And I’m not talking about the people who say 'all lives matter.' There are too many explanations for why that statement should never be said. I’m talking about people who say Black lives matter, but are only talking about a few kinds of Black lives.


To the Black men listening, yes, your life matters. Of course your life matters. Not only do you matter, but you are also wanted, needed, beloved and worthy.


However, there are a lot of other Black lives that I’m going to take the time to address because other people do not.


We as a community need to look at liberation with an intersectional lens. Intersectionality is a term coined by a Black woman scholar, Kimberly Crenshaw, and it means that different parts of peoples identities such as race, class, gender, sexuality, ability, age, and many other things combine to create unique types of discrimination. This means that while I am Black, and a woman, and queer, none of these identities can exist individually for me. They all combine to make up my entire person, and I am never seen as just one of them. So, when I say that we need to take an intersectional approach to this movement, I am saying All Black lives matter. Trans Black lives, queer Black lives, poor Black lives, fat Black lives, differently abled Black lives. Non-college educated Black lives, immigrant Black lives. They all matter.


And if we say of course they matter, they’re included in Black lives. Aren’t Black lives included in all lives matter?

In 2014, a human service provider serving homeless youth reported that 31 percent of the LGBTQ youth they served identified as African American or Black. Despite Black youth making up only 14 percent of the general youth population in 2014. That is an issue, and those young people matter.


In 2016, it was estimated that while the overall murder rate for the US was 1 in 19,000 per year, the murder rate for Black trans women was 1 in 2,600. And while there are some people who make efforts to show up for these Black lives, the reality is that most people do not.


We need to be explicit with our language and we have to follow our declarations with action.


If you are homophobic, you don’t think Black lives matter. If you are elitist, you don’t think Black lives matter. If you are transphobic, Islamaphobic, Xenophobic, you don’t think Black lives matter, period.


And if this is shocking you and you feel confused, there are plenty of people and resources who are willing to help you understand.


Nobody is born with all of the knowledge in the world. And despite what we are seeing on social media today, it is perfectly okay to change your opinion when you are presented with new information.


The brilliant Audre Lorde once said, 'I am not free while any woman is unfree. Even if her shackles are very different from my own.' And if you are standing here at this rally at Fountain Square and you claim that Black lives matter, you need to be 100 percent sure that you mean that. Because if we keep having marches and protests and demonstrations and kneel-ins and die-ins only for so many of our people to be forgotten, we are not as committed to liberation as we say we are.


I am not free until my trans siblings are free.


I am not free until my queer siblings are free.


I am not free until my undocumented siblings are free.


I am not free until my incarcerated siblings are free.


I am not free until my sex worker siblings are free.


I am not free until black women are free. I am not free until my differently able siblings are free. I am not free until Black children are free.


And I am not free until Black elders are free.


And this, this is the essence of community. This is the essence of the movement. We may not be able to control how white people see us or the anti-Blackness that has permeated the cultures of other people of color. But we can control how we treat each other.


We can and we must cultivate and nurture each other. We are the village.


There’s an African proverb that says, 'The child who is not embraced by the village will burn it down to feel its warmth.' But what do those children do when their village is burning by someone else’s hands? They get left behind. And as we work to extinguish the flames, do not leave us behind.


All Black lives matter, including mine and including yours. We have nothing to lose but our chains.


Mr. Kevin Brown


Kevin: I need you all to help me for a second here. Can you all say justice?


Crowd: Justice.


Kevin: And can you all say now.


Crowd: Now.


Kevin: What do we want? When do we want it?


Crowd: Now.


My name is Kevin Brown. I am one of the Black men that Brother Laude talked about that they tried to run out of town. Tried to run out of town because we were concerned about justice. We were concerned about doing right.


There is a scripture in the Bible that talks about justice. It was the prophet Micah, and he said that every person should strive to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God. And right now, in America, you’ve heard all of these speakers today, Black men and Black women. And they talked to us today about their pain. They talked to us today about all of the injustices that they have experienced in their own lives and that they have witnessed in their own lives. And they talked about George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Travon Martin, the list goes on and on and on.


And right now in America what we are saying is that it’s enough. We’ve had enough. We’ve had enough of the violence against us. We’ve had enough of the injustice that is happening against us.


Enough is enough.


It’s not enough to march in the streets and leave it there. It’s not enough, Chief, to kneel with the police and leave it there.


What we need from the police chief and from our police department is to get rid of the bad police. I don’t need to kneel with police. I need the police department to fire the bad policemen.


It’s not enough for the Mayor of Evanston and the City Council of Evanston and the interim City Manager of Evanston to publish high-sounding words that 'We will do better.' That’s not enough today.


It’s not enough for you to print out statements talking about you’ll do better. It’s not enough. Now you have the NFL Commissioner today talking about, 'We’ve seen the light. We’re going to make a change now we understand.' But just like what happened to me at the City of Evanston, what about Colin Kaepernick’s career?


How does he get his career back?


How does he get the years back that you took from him?


It’s not enough to say I’m sorry.


What we need in America today is we have reached with all of you here, Black and white and brown and yellow and all of the spectrum of colors that are here today, I’m saying just for myself I don’t know what other people are saying, but it’s not enough just to say I’m sorry.


America, we need atonement in America.


What am I talking about? What am I talking about in regards to atonement?


You need to make it right in America.


When I was growing up my mother, bless her heart, when she was teaching me as I was growing up as a young child, I remember she had an old car that we would drive in, and one day she took us down to the gas station. And in the gas station there was a store and they had candy and all kinds of things. And I had a little toy at home, it was a little toy car that needed batteries. And I remember going to my mother and I said, 'Mom, I need some batteries for the toy car.' And she said, 'You know I can’t afford the batteries right now. You’re going to have to wait.'


So while she was out by the car putting the gasoline in, I was only 7 or 8 years old, and I went into the store and while the clerk was looking the other way, I grabbed the batteries. And I put the batteries in my pocket and I remember going home, and we got home and I went into my room and I took the batteries out of the package and I put them in the little car.


And my car was working and I was playing with the car on the floor, and I remember my mother walked in the room and she said, 'I thought you said you needed batteries for that car.' And of course I said, 'Mom, I found them.'


My mother grabbed me by the shoulder and we started to walk outside. I said, 'Mom where we going?' And she said, 'Don’t worry about it.'


She put me in the car and we drove back to that gas station. She took me out of the car and she marched me up to the attendant at the gas station and she said, 'Tell him what you did.'


I told the attendant what I did. I cried. I was embarrassed, and I gave the batteries back.


What am I trying to say America, I’m trying to say we need atonement, America for what has been done to us. It’s not enough just to say I’m sorry. It’s not enough just to say we can work together and make it right again. We need atonement. And that means what has been talked about here today. We talked about policies, we talked about a new order and a new way of doing things in Evanston. And what does that mean in Evanston?


It means that you have a City Council and a Mayor in Evanston and they said to the city of Evanston, we are going to pass for you reparations. Well, they passed the reparations ordinance on the same night that they prevented an alderman from trying to get justice for me at the City for something that happened at the City.


But that’s okay. That’s all right. It’s not about me.


What it is about is how we are going to move forward as a people in the city of Evanston. And one of the ways that your elected officials and representatives has said that we should move forward in Evanston-- they said that we should give reparations to the people that deserve atonement in Evanston.

We heard somebody talk about the red-lining in Evanston. We heard somebody talk about housing discrimination in Evanston. You heard someone talk about employment discrimination in Evanston.


Evanston what do we need?


Reparations.


What do we need?


Reparations.


What do we need?


Reparations.


And we need it now. We need it now.


I said that we are in a critical period in America right now. We’re in a critical period in the state of Illinois. And we’re facing a critical turning point in city of Evanston. And we’ve had these critical periods and these turning points in our history in this country. We had it during the reconstruction. We had an opportunity at that time as a nation to make atonement and to make it right again for the people who had been wronged in this country.


They said we’ll give you 40 acres and a mule. And they never made good on the promise.


But now, City of Evanston, what I’m asking and what a lot of us are asking today is that we need a new reconstruction. Not just in Evanston, but we need a new reconstruction in the United States of America.


That new reconstruction would entail policies and practices that not only deal with the challenges that people of color have had, and white people as well, with the police department. And the unfairness within the police department. But that new reconstruction, that new way of living, has got to deal with all of the challenges and the mess that we had and we face with housing, with employment, with healthcare, with clean water. Having a better environment.


We’re going to have to redo things in this country if we’re going to live together.


I’m going to continue to fight for what’s right in this community. I’m going to continue to fight for the children in this community, as I have for many years. I’m going to continue to fight to help people to get good housing. To get employment, to get jobs, to get healthcare, to get all the things that people need in order to live up to their God-given potential. I’m going to be fighting for those things.


But what we need to do together from this point forward and as we go out into the world and go back to our homes, we really need to submit this in our hearts.



Michael Nabors


Another round of applause for all of our speakers today. A round of applause for all of you who have come out. We thank you so much for your presence this afternoon. When you go home tonight, don’t go home.


When you go home tonight, don’t go back to the house that you left.


When you go home tonight, we want to make sure that you go home to something different. Go home to a new home. Go home to a new perspective. Go home to a new voice. Go home to a new night and a new day. But never allow your home to be the same.





Speaker biographies


Michael C. R. Nabors

Pastor Michael Nabors

Rev. Dr. Michael C. R. Nabors is senior pastor of the historic Second Baptist Church. Since arriving at Second Baptist, Nabors has sought to continue leading the church in its historical role as a trumpeter for building beloved community and as a social justice advocate in Evanston and Metro Chicago. Nabors also serves as president of the Evanston/North Shore Branch of the NAACP.


Nabors teaches Homiletics and has taught Public Theology at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, IL. Prior to arriving in Illinois he served as Director of the Master of Divinity and Student Life Programs at Ecumenical Theological Seminary in Detroit where he was professor of Homiletics and African American Religious History. He has taught at Ashland Theological Seminary, Calvin Theological Seminary, and Marygrove College.

Nabors earned an undergraduate degree in English and Creative Writing at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the Master of Divinity and Master of Theology degrees at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey and the Doctor of Ministry degree as a Samuel DeWitt Proctor Fellow at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.


Gilo Kwesi Cornell Logan

Dr. Gilo Kwesi Cornell Logan

Dr. Logan is an internationally recognized consultant, author, and speaker. With experience spanning over 20 years and throughout 23 countries, Logan has provided expertly researched and demonstrably effective leadership and diversity training to multinational corporations, nonprofit organizations, school districts, college campuses, and government agencies.


In an increasingly diverse, interconnected, and at times, seemingly polarized society, Logan helps leaders and teams develop skills in cultural intelligence in order to achieve their goals of global leadership, recruiting and retaining diverse talent, and facilitating an inclusive organizational culture, for the overall growth of their business and employees. At the heart of the work is the belief that companies, and teams thrive when its employees can be critically reflective and can safely engage in thoughtful, productive, and deliberate discussions on diversity and inclusion.


As a public speaker, Logan combines this professional and academic specialization in multicultural education with his own personal history. Growing up in Evanston, Illinois, he learned of social justice not from watching the news, but from watching his father serve as the first Black police chief of Evanston and go onto serve as a bodyguard to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Logan holds a BA in Business Administration and Marketing (Southern Illinois University), an MA in Elementary Education (National Louis University), and a PhD in Adult and Continuing Education (National Louis University). In addition to his consultancy and public speaking work, Logan serves as a professor of Diversity and Social Justice at Northeastern Illinois University. He is a member of the Illinois Diversity Council, a National Diversity Council Certified Diversity Professional, a certified Family Life educator, and the founder of S.O.U.L. Creations.

In his spare time, Logan can be found listening to and making music, eating a bowl of vegan popcorn, working out, gardening, and spending time with his wife, Miah, and their three sons.


Keith D. Terry

Mr. Keith Terry

Keith D. Terry is a business leadership expert with more than 25 years of rich and varied global business experience. He has helped companies, organizations, associations, governments, and individuals achieve outstanding results. Keith is the Managing Partner, the Terry Performance Group, Inc.

Terry is passionate about giving back to the community. He has lived and raised his family in Evanston. Terry's core mission is to improve the lives of others. Terry has been a driving force behind many public initiatives that have changed the lives of others. He served on the Evanston/Skokie District 65 School Board and has served on the board of directors for several non-for-profit organizations including:

Evanston Youth Job Center, Evanston Community Foundation, Root-2-Fruit Advisory Board, North Shore University Health System Hospital Community Advisory Board, The Public Safety Civil Service Commission for the city of Evanston, The Chessmen Club, Evanston’s MashUp Leadership Committee, Evanston Hospital’s Internal Review Board (IRB), Foundation 65, Y.O.U.’s Workplace Advisory Committee, Planned Parenthood of Illinois, Illinois Institute for Political Reform, GoodCity, University of Chicago’s CEO Roundtable, Chicago Innovation Mentors, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc and several CEO search sub-committees.

Terry earned his BS from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his MBA from the University of Chicago School of Business.

Corey Winchester

Mr. Corey Winchester

Originally from Philadelphia, PA, Corey Winchester's work stems from those who have shown him love at an early age, his family and close friends. Centering that loving energy, his project as an educator has evolved to serve various communities in disrupting oppressive systems and beliefs that have attempted to the deny their human existence, particularly of Black, Brown, and Indigenous folxs, Queer and Trans folxs, and the vast intersecting identities held amongst them, and to dream and make manifest liberating realities. Winchester has ten years of middle, secondary, and collegiate teaching experience. Winchester teaches US History and Sociology of Class, Gender, and Race at Evanston Township High School, where he also serves as the coordinator of Students Organized Against Racism (SOAR). He was recognized as an Excellent Early Career Educator by the Illinois State Board of Education in 2013, a Distinguished Alumni from Loyola University Chicago's School of Education in 2016 and received the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2019. He has delivered two TEDx talks, one at TEDxNorthwestern in 2019 and the most recent at TEDxLFHS in 2020. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Learning Sciences at Northwestern University. 


Carlis Sutton

Mr. Carlis Sutton

Carlis Sutton is a third-generation fifth-ward resident. He has an Education degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a law degree from Thurgood Marshall School of Law. He is a retired Evanston/Skokie School District 65 and ETHS teacher, and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia West Africa. He serves as a senior deacon at Second Baptist Evanston and is a founder of the Citizens Network of Protection, a nonprofit organization established to assist Evanston residents with filing complaints against police officers’ misconduct. He's a member of Evanston North Shore NAACP and the Police Advisory Board.

Nic Davis

Nic Davis

Nic Davis graduated from ETHS in 2013. He was was a member of the Diversity Equity Leadership Team District 207. He graduated from Temple University with a BA in Criminal Justice and a minor in Spanish. He is currently working toward his Master's in Secondary Education at DePaul University. Davis was a founding member of Temple University's Black Diamonds Union and a University Community Collaborative Leadership Corp member. He was a member of the Obama Foundation's 2019 Community Leadership Corp.


Demitrous Cook

EPD Chief Demitrous Cook

Demitrous Cook retired from the Evanston Police Department in 2010 with 26.5 years of service to


become the Glenwood Illinois Police Chief. Chief Cook returned to the City of Evanston in 2019, and is currently in his 40th year of police service.


Chief Cook served as a Special Agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Narcotics Task force. He received his Master of Science Degree from Lewis University. He is a graduate of Northwestern University’s School of Police Staff and Command; Northwestern University’s Executive Leadership Course; The Senior Management Institute for Police at Harvard University and the FBI Midwest Executive Development Course.


Chief Cook served as Vice President of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives Chicago Metropolitan Chapter for six years. He also served as President of the South Suburban Emergency Response Team (SSERT), coordinating and managing SWAT operations for South Suburban Cook County.


He is a past President of ECOM Dispatch Communications Operating Committee for South Suburban Cook County. He has active memberships with the Police Executive Research Forum; the International Assoc. of Chiefs of Police; The Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police; Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc.; Prince Hall Masons and the Altgeld Gardens Alumni Group.


Chief Cook grew up on the south side of Chicago in the Altgeld Gardens Public Housing Complex, where he was mentored by his Mother, Frances Evans; Dr. Gloria Jackson-Bacon; Dr. Larry Hawkins, Judge Michael Stuttley and Coach Glen Johnson.


Chief Cook is the proud father of five daughters and step-Son Jarrett Wright. Chief Cook currently resides in Evanston with his wife Lucia Cook and daughter.


Liana Wallace

Liana Wallace is a 19-year-old Sophomore at Georgetown University majoring in International Business with a minor in Women and Gender Studies. Although born outside of Chicago, as a little girl, she spent four years living in Tokyo and Singapore. Liana is a 2019 Coke Scholar, a Seattle-Limbe Sister City Association delegate who delivered reusable menstrual kits to woman and girls in Cameroon, and a spoken word artist who performed for Congressman John Lewis.




Robert Bady

Robert Bady is a 21-year resident of south Evanston and proud father of three, with a current senior and sophomore Wildkit. With a passion for serving the community, Bady has helped bring the Ridgeville Park District board to a 21st Century all-inclusive vision from 2013 to 2019. Bady also served a term and a half for the City of Evanston's Preservation Commission from 2015 to 2020, and as a coach and mentor for FAAM. Bady serves on the ETHS Boosters board for Allocations and has been the Entertainment Chair for Boosterpalooza since 2016. In 2017, Bady lost the 8th ward aldermanic campaign by single digits and is considering a second run.


Lionel Jean-Baptiste

Judge Lionel Jean-Baptiste

Judge Lionel Jean-Baptiste is a dedicated husband, a father to three children, and a grandfather to three grandchildren. His childhood was spent in Haiti. He moved to Evanston at the age of 14.

Upon graduating from ETHS in 1970, he attended Princeton University where he received his B.S. degree in Political Science. Lionel met his wonderful wife, Lenore, at Princeton. They have been married for 39 years.

After graduating from Princeton, Jean-Baptiste taught elementary school students in Brooklyn’s Bedford Stuyvesant community. He also taught as an adjunct professor at New Rochelle Community College in New York City. Lionel later became the Director of Special Housing for the New York City Housing Preservation and Development Department, serving the homeless and providing emergency housing.

Jean-Baptiste and his family moved from New York City to Evanston, and he enrolled in the Chicago-Kent School of Law in 1986. While raising a family and working a full time job as the Executive Assistant to the President of Chicago’s Malcolm X College, Lionel graduated from law school in 1990.

Jean-Baptiste currently serves as a Cook County Circuit Court Judge for the 9th Subcircuit, having been appointed by the Supreme Court of Illinois, and sworn in on March 4, 2011. Since his appointment, he has conducted several trials and hearings in the Traffic, Forcible Detainer and Municipal Divisions. He served for 10 years as an Alderman of the 2nd Ward of Evanston.

Jean-Baptiste served as a Civil Service Commissioner for the City of Evanston, founded the Evanston Youth Initiative to help young adults stay away from crime and succeed in life. He is a member of the NAACP, his neighborhood association, and the Haitian American Community Association. He is the founder and past Chairman of the Haitian Congress to Fortify Haiti, and a founding member of the Haitian Relief Fund of Illinois. He is also a founder and past president of the Haitian American Lawyers Association of Illinois.


Jude Laude

Mr. Jude Laude

For the past 30 years, Jude Laude has been an educator and has had the privilege of helping to impact students lives at Malcolm X College, The Chicago State University Upward Bound Program, Roberto Clemente High School, and as a high school counselor at North Lawndale College Prep.  He is also currently a school board member of District 202 and a former board member of Foundation 65.






Ayinde Jean-Baptiste

Mr. Ayinde Jean-Baptiste

Ayinde Jean-Baptiste is a keeper of memory, systems thinker and sometimes artist, who occasionally commits acts of journalism. An organizer turned strategist, his work is story-driven: cultivating and protecting people's voices and self-perception as capable of changing their environments or circumstances. As a multimedia storyteller, he uses voice to shift culture, engaging with communities through listening, memory-making, and movement.


A 3rd culture child of two Caribbeans who grew up poor and came to this country as adolescents, who were shaped by 1960s Chicago and 1970s Brooklyn, Jean-Baptiste trained at the feet of his elders as an activist and advocate in libraries, lecture halls, churches, mosques, community meetings, courtrooms, council chambers, rallies and marches.


One of his parents was born in a colony, the other in the first surviving republic in this hemisphere to throw off the yoke of slavery. The first vote he cast was for his father (Judge Lionel Jean-Baptiste, who was also an Evanston alderman) in a campaign he managed. Since then, he's led and won local, statewide and international campaigns on issues from healthcare and student financial aid, to citizenship rights and statelessness. He's also experienced firsthand the challenges and limitations of professionalized broad-based organizing across groups lacking shared stakes.


Hardy Murphy

Dr. Hardy Murphy

Hardy Murphy, Ph.D., is Clinical Professor of Educational Leadership at Indiana University, Indianapolis. His research interests include Charter School Effectiveness, Special Education Inclusion, and Teacher Evaluation.


His academic activities include district and school effectiveness consulting and evaluation services as Co-PI on a number of grants in the area of school improvement and teacher development. Dr. Murphy serves as an outside evaluator for the University of North Carolina State Improvement and Scaling Up Evidence Based Practices (SISEP) project, a national project that assists state level educational agencies in providing support for  implementing school improvement initiatives. Dr. Murphy has also been a practicing psychologist at a private community medical clinic. He served as the Superintendent of Evanston/Skokie Community Consolidated School District 65 for thirteen years.


Lauren Davis


Lauren Davis is a senior at Spelman College majoring in Elementary Eduction. She serves as Lead Chapel Assistant at Spelman. Lauren graduated from ETHS in 2017, and was a founding member of the ETHS Black Student Union. Lauren is a racial equity and social justice advocate and serves as minister at Second Baptist Church.

Ms. Lauren Davis

Kevin L. Brown


Kevin Brown is an accomplished thought leader in the youth development sector of the Evanston community, and nationally recognized community engagement expert, with 30 years of operational, planning and program development experience.

Dr. Kevin Brown

Brown has served at the City of Evanston, the City of St. Louis, the Pennsylvania State University, Pomona College, Carleton College, the Lawrenceville School, the Virginia Military Institute, St. HOPE Academy, and the Sacramento City Unified School District. In numerous roles, he has worked as an advocate, workforce development manager, successful student services professional, and enrollment manager. He recruited and supervised faculty and staff, and implemented violence prevention and alternative dispute resolution programs to improve community and campus life, and established programs to improve K-12 student retention and graduation rates.

Brown received his JD from Washington University, an MA at Western Seminary, and his BA degree from Northwestern University. He serves on the boards of the Organization of Positive Action and Leadership (OPAL) and the Evanston/Northshore Branch NAACP.

In February, Brown was hired by the Safer Foundation to oversee the development of a national Economic Mobility through second Chance Hiring Project initiative funded by the J.P. Morgan Chase Foundation.

Brown is married to the former Cheryl Ann Logan, a third generation Evanstonian.

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