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Artists paint Black Lives Matter in EAC's parking lot
Riding my bike this morning, I saw three artists working on a colorful mural (is it still called a mural when it's not on a wall?) in the Evanston Art Center parking lot, so I stopped by to find out who they were. When I got home, I found that EAC had announced the creation of the mural on its website a few days ago. So here's the scoop about the artists. Sholo Beverly is leading the artistic direction with contributing artists Baz Cumberbatch, Blanca Cortes, David Johnson Niari, Ziana Pearson-Muller and Grant Rogers. Sholo Beverly is an artist working in mixed media, inspired by the organic shapes in nature, and the visual stimulation of the female body and energy. With a concentration in mixed media, Sholo is a vessel of intuitive creations. Baz Cumberbatch’s art career began in his youth when he started making and selling t-shirts using shells, leaves, bones, corals, sea fans, pieces of palm, coconut and bamboo trees in the Caribbean. In 1989, crowned South Caribbean Windsurfing Champion, Baz traveled the world before moving to California and then Hawaii to pursue a career in windsurfing, art and to raise a family. In 2011, Baz visited Alaska and saw that the water, mountains, skies and land looked like the tropical trees that surrounded him. Upon returning to Hawaii, Baz began creating the all natural mixed media pieces he sells today in Maui and Evanston. Blanca Cortes is a born and raised Salvadorean, lefty, graphic designer and illustrator. Her style is bold and minimalist and she gets inspiration from cats, food history and myths. David Johnson Niari, currently living and working in Chicago, IL, makes drawings, paintings and mixed media artworks. By referencing romanticism, grand-guignolesque black humour and symbolism, his drawings reference post-colonial theory as well as the avant-garde or the post-modern and the left-wing democratic movement as a form of resistance against the logic of the capitalist market system. Niari’s works are based on formal associations made through labour-intensive processes that open a unique poetic vain. Multilayered images arise in such a way that the fragility and the instability of our seemingly certain reality is questioned. Ziana Pearson-Muller (Z) is a 21 year old queer painter/artist, born and raised in Evanston. Ziana’s love for the arts started as young as grade school and stuck with her through her high school years. Ziana got into photography her freshman year, and began freelancing sophomore-junior year and got into acrylic painting and modeling around that same time as a hobby. It wasn't until Ziana’s senior year that she actually considered starting painting in a business aspect, began selling work through Facebook then moved to Instagram after she graduated in 2017. It's been so many years with her craft and she loves what she does because of the journey it has taken her on. Ziana’s main goal is to be as versatile as possible in this life. Grant Rogers creates art that is a reflection of the times. It doesn’t matter the medium that he uses paint, digital, video or music as long as what Grant is feeling and experiencing is conveyed through his work. Grant’s work can be playful yet serious sometimes sad but always optimistic. I hope it moves you in some way. Because great art provokes thought and conversation. So, let the artist’s work speak and if you listen closely there’s a message for you to hear. Stop by the EAC to see the mural for yourself. But ... make sure to go inside as well to see the art center's current exhibit, Soulworks, curated by Evanston artist and gallerist Rose Cannon and artist Fran Joy. And, make sure to support local BIPOC artists by visiting their exhibits and purchasing their work! You can find a list of Evanston BIPOC artists--who are members of Evanston Made--here. Find out about the Soulworks exhibit here.
Camille Allen spoke at Evanston's National Gun Violence Awareness event on Thursday, June 2, 2016
Camille Allen spoke at Evanston's National Gun Violence Awareness event on Thursday, which was co-sponsored by Dear Evanston and Citizens' Greener Evanston. Here is the transcript of her speech. You can also watch her delivering her message in the video below. Compelling and moving. Camille graduated from ETHS this May with honors. Formerly the Student Representative to the District 202 Board of Education and President of Student Senate, Camille is invested in student government and youth driven initiatives. In addition to four years of singing with ETHS Dazzling Dames and Bazao, Camille enjoyed writing as a News Editor/Columnist for the Evanstonian. As a member of the Leadership Board of Students Organized Against Racism (SOAR), Camille is dedicated to anti-racist work and believes that subversive leadership and collective impact can combat gun violence in our community. Camille will attend Barnard College of Columbia University New York next year. "Hello! For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Camille Allen. It’s truly an honor to speak here today and it’s hard to believe it was just a few short weeks ago the Class of 2016 at ETHS walked the stage and graduated. The ceremony, I’m sure, was like many others in past years. Parents swelling with pride, graduates fending off butterflies in their stomach and the arena bustling with relatives. "But this year, our ceremony was different. We still heard the National Anthem, Student Welcome and Commencement Address. But our program took on a more somber tone when Dr. Witherspoon invited Tiffany Rice, mother of Dajae Coleman and founder of the Dajae Coleman Foundation, onstage to recognize our fellow peer who wasn’t able to walk with us. Dajae Coleman, a bright student, a talented basketball player and a loving son and brother, senselessly lost his life to gun violence my freshman year. Dajae would have graduated with us, but that potential was stolen from him when someone fired a gun. "I didn’t have the pleasure of knowing Dajae, but I have friends who did, so the day he died, it felt like I was losing him too. I felt this loss when students stopped in the hallway and reached out to hug each other through tears. I felt this loss when I witnessed streams of students leave school to gather at the site of his death, dedicating flowers, candles and love letters to his name. And I felt this loss when thousands in the arena bowed their heads in a moment of silence. "Dajae’s death made gun violence real to me. It’s one thing to see gruesome violence on TV, or listen to songs that glorify owning and sporting guns, but it’s another thing entirely to truly understand that murder, caused by gun violence, from a drive-by shooting or a case of mistaken identity or a domestic conflict turned into assault with a deadly weapon, always has effects that ripple far and wide. One death can break hearts. One death can tear apart relationships between even the closest of family and friends. One death can upturn and upheave an entire community. One death, the death of Dajae, someone I could have had the opportunity to call my friend, smile at in the hallways and cheer on at basketball games, taught me that gun violence is about more than the pull of a trigger. Gun violence is a painful symptom of a larger systemic issue in our communities and our nation. "Because it hasn’t just been one death. Data from the Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund finds that on an “average” day 91 Americans are killed with guns. On an “average day” seven children and teens are killed with guns. In an “average” month 51 women are shot to death by a current or former boyfriend or husband. Gun violence silences voices and destroys communities, but as many of us know, it kills the black, brown and female more than anyone else. Black men are 10 times more likely than White men to be murdered with guns. The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of the woman being murdered by five times. And that’s just the national data. The New York Magazine found that in Chicago, the neighbor we know and love, over 3,000 citizens were shot last year. One local site estimates four Chicagoans were shot and killed last week alone, and that 81.8% of this year’s homicide victims have been Black. "So where do we go from here? It’s clear that it won’t be easy, and I don’t have all the answers. But as a proud product of this community, an ETHS graduate who can recite the names of peers lost to gun violence, a daughter of a concerned mother who lovingly sought out Evanston to raise me, seeking safety, and the younger sister of a Black brother who has been forced to bow his head in fear, gun violence is personal to me. It should be personal to you too."
Evanston United Black Family Rally to Support Black Lives at Fountain Square, Sunday, June 7, 2020
More than 1,500 people gathered in the hot sun crowding onto Fountain Square and spilling into the streets this afternoon for a powerful Evanston United Black Family Rally to Support Black Lives. The event, scheduled for 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., went an hour long, with many attendees remaining until the very end. Please watch and listen to every speaker who took the podium today. The event was emceed by Michael Nabors, president, NAACP Evanston/North Shore and Pastor, Second Baptist Church. In order, they were: Gilo Kwesi Cornell Logan, life-long Evanstonians, Logan Consulting and S.O.U.L Creations; Keith D. Terry; community leader Corey Winchester, teacher, Evanston Township High School (ETHS) Carlis Sutton, community activist, member of The Citizens' Network of Protection - Evanston, IL Nick Davis Evanston Police Department Chief Demitrous Cook Liana Wallace, ETHS grad Robert Bady, community activist Judge Lionel jean Baptiste, founder and past chairman of the Haitian Congress to Fortify Haiti, former Evanston Alderman, and Cook County Judge Jude Laude, life-long Evanstonian, board member, District 202 Ayinde Jean Baptiste, life-long Evanstonian, keeper of memory, systems thinker and sometimes artist, "who occasionally commits acts of journalism." Dr. Hardy Murphy, former superintendent, Evanston/Skokie School District 65 Lauren Davis, ETHS grad and minister at Second Baptist Evanston Kevin L. Brown, community activist, former manager of Evanston's Youth and Young Adult Division. The Evanston/North Shore Branch NAACP, Chessmen Club of the North Shore, Inc., Black Evanston Men, Kappa Alpha Psi/Evanston chapter, and S.O.U.L Creations.