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What are you reading?

Dear Evanston,

Oh how I miss our in-person book group gatherings and discussions. I miss seeing our room fill up with eager participants, the learning, the listening, the varying perspectives, the capturing of one another's nuanced ideas and outlooks as we learn and grow together, the camaraderie, our amazing facilitators and speakers, the energy of people meeting new people, the food, Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center, and the warmth of face-to-face smiles and greetings.

This photo popped up in my Facebook "memories" yesterday morning from a year ago when we met to discuss Kendi's How to be an Antiracist, a book that initiated so much discussion and debate.

The year since then has been so full of turmoil and challenges--highlighting the devastating racial inequities in this country.

Recently I finished Caste by Isabel Wilkerson. Have you read it?

It's excellent. It's going to be our next book group discussion (Zoom) and Shelley Barnow Sutherland and Lesley Williams have just started planning! Stay tuned for the date and other details.

What are YOU reading now?

I do want to put a pitch in for all our excellent book group caterers. As you know, we focus on Black-owned catering companies and individual chefs. Please support them for anything you need during the holiday season and beyond:

-- Shannon Sudduth of Noir d'Ebene Chocolat et Patisserie has just opened her own shop! Visit her at 1309 Chicago Avenue for outstanding bean-to-bar chocolates and keep your eye out for her dinner offerings. You can also help her by donating to her gofundme.

-- Sugar Baker offers cookies and cakes, which you can order via email and text if you sign up! She makes delicious apple pies, lemon squares, oatmeal raisin cookies, and so much more! She'll also happily cater a meal for you. Email her for information.

Jennifer's Edibles, Inc, owned by Jennifer Eason, has been doing outstanding work in the community helping to feed Evanston's seniors. They've cooked and delivered meals to hundreds of seniors since the pandemic began. Support them here.

-- C & W Market and Ice Cream Parlor, owned by Clarence and Wendy Weaver, has also been working hard on behalf of families who need groceries and meals, delivering every Wednesday and Saturday without fail, despite losing their son CJ to a terrible accident over the summer. Support their GoFundMe.

Visit them for grocery needs too. They're at the corner of Church and Dodge.

-- While we hadn't yet had the opportunity to enjoy Teertsemasesottehg's incredible food, hopefully when the pandemic is behind us we will. That's the amazing Chef Q, who has also been working non-stop to feed our community. Here's Chef Q's gofundme.

Another brand new store to shout out is 4 Suns Fresh Juice owned by Gabrielle Walker-Aguilar! It’s at 1906 Main Street.

-- We also hadn't yet expanded to Latinx-owned businesses, but again, we will. In the meantime, I want to shout out the incredible work of Erika Castro and Pablo Sanchez and Gyros Planet Evanston, located right across from Evanston Township High School (ETHS) on Church Street. They have AMAZING gyros (and lots more). Since the start of the pandemic, they've been focusing their efforts on Latinx families who are struggling to put food on the table. Support their gofundme.

-- Feeding The Village Evanston, organized by Darlene Cannon, Bruce Allen King, and Mandy Eason, has been distributing soups and all sorts of foods since the start of the pandemic. Donate through Paypal at

There are so many more incredible people and businesses in our community doing whatever they can to support families. I know this is just a sampling. Please comment below with other Black and Latinx-owned businesses that can use support.

Stay healthy everyone. To those of you who celebrate Hannukah, which began last night, may you have much light and love in the darkness!

For the third year, Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre and Beth Emet The Free Synagogue have organized Kwanzaa and Hannukah celebrations together:

Tonight, December 11 at 6:30 p.m., Beth Emet invites the community to celebrate Chanukah via Zoom.

On Saturday, December 26 at noon, Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre invites your family to celebrate the first day of Kwanzaa at Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre.

Thanks for ... reading!


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