"The safest communities don't have the most cops, they have the most resources."
This banner is hanging on the Metra overpass at Central Street and Greenbay Rd. Placed there by a group that supports Evanston Fight for Black Lives.
To date, four City Council members have made public statements supporting defunding the Evanston Police Department: Ald. Cicely Fleming, 9, was the first to make a statement. Ald. Robin Rue Simmons, 5, and Ald. Donald Wilson, 4, followed. On Saturday, after a long conversation with the Evanston Fight for Black Lives activists, Ald. Peter Braithwaite, 2, committed to defunding the EPD.
"We are now officially at 4 out of 9 alderman in support. We only need 1 more to secure this monumental change in Evanston," organizers reported.
Today, Mayor Steve Hagerty held the third in his Policing in Evanston Q&A, focusing on the Evanston Police Department and School Resource Officers' (SROs) role in District 65 and District 202, and the collaboration between EPD and Northwestern University's Police Department.
You can watch the meeting here.
What's your opinion about SROs? If you are an ETHS student, graduate or parent, you can share your thoughts with the young activists at Evanston Fight for Black Lives here. Does/did having police presence at school make you feel safer? Less safe? How have you engaged with the SROs at ETHS? How have you seen other students engage with them? What benefit do you think they provide? Or do you think they're more of a detriment to students?
And please share with DE too by emailing us!
Still trying to make sense of 'defunding?' Don't like the word, or wonder what it means? Disagree with it and want to engage in respectful discussion? Want to learn more about policing in the United States? Then sign up for Dear Evanston's next Racial Justice Book Group on Zoom: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday, August 18. We're reading The End of Policing by Alex S. Vitale. We'll hear from Professor Vitale and then break in to small groups to discuss the book. Find our more and register here.
Evanston resident Heather Sweeney shared with me something she wrote with me the other day:
Radical or radical-sounding at that moment in time?
Abolition of slavery
Same sex marriage
Universal health care
Black Lives Matter
Destruction of symbols of racism, genocide, and inhumanity
Defund the police