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Meet Jean and Larry Murphy and support their YoFresh Evanston Cafe.
Support Jean and Larry Murphy's YoFresh GoFundMe and help them reach their goal to make sure their wonderful community-focused cafe stays open: They're just $20,000 away from their $50,000 goal. Donate here: gofundme.com/f/yofresh-cafe-evanston. ____________ For Evanstonians Jean and Larry Murphy, it's all about their 10 "froyo" flavors (and toppings, and sandwiches, and quiches, coffee, and more). BUT it's about creating community inside and outside of their YoFresh Yogurt Cafe at 635 Chicago Ave. that's the cherry on the top for this couple. And, they say, it's thanks to that very community's warmth and support that they've been able to sustain their frozen yogurt cafe through the challenges of the pandemic and through the tragic loss of their son Ayinde who passed away suddenly in November. But, as we all get vaccinated and begin to see a light at the end of the tunnel, YoFresh Cafe still needs our financial support to get them across the finish line. "Putting up a GoFundMe was the last thing that we wanted to do," Larry told me when I chatted with him and Jean on Zoom earlier this week. "But when we looked at the realistic picture, if we didn't do that, it really would mean shuttering the place. That is the actual truth. These kinds of infusions help us to be able to see that we can sustain ourselves until we can build back up to that sustainable cash flow." Please help Jean and Larry reach their $50,000 goal. They're just $20,000 away. Donate here: gofundme.com/f/yofresh-cafe-evanston. "The primary support that all of us seek is not the donation style so much as patronage," says Larry. "We want to be, not a charity recipient, but a community partner. And so, if people can, as the pandemic eases up, keep us in mind, give us a try." Watch my interview with Larry and Jean to learn about this loving, giving couple who came to live in Evanston in 1974; Larry to teach at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and Jean to serve as Director of First United Methodist Church of Evanston's nursery school.
Historic vote on Evanston Restorative Hosuing Reparations Program
The beginning of reparations in Evanston is a reality by an 8-1 vote. Happened at City Council last night. This is a first in the nation and a historic moment! It's a small step, granted, and there’s so much more to be done. Thanks to Josh Gilbert at Temperance Beer Co. for speaking up and for putting your money where your mouth is! Temperance has a beer, “Where I’m From,” which, when you purchase it, sends 100 percent of profits toward Evanston reparations! And thanks to Mack's Bike and Goods who will donate 1% of their profits to reparations! Also! Remember to buy your recreational cannabis from MedMen on Maple. Three percent of all sales tax goes to reparations in Evanston. Read more in the Washington Post: http://bit.ly/3rfvD9g "The [person] who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones." -- Confucius
Evanston's City Council names portion of Church street Morris 'Dino' Robinson, Jr. Way.
The designation honors Robinson, who founded Shorefront Legacy Center in 1995, for the time, talent, and energy he has devoted to gathering stories, photos, facts, artifacts, and memorabilia from local African American residents--many of whose parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and other family members escaped oppressive economic conditions, lynchings and other horrors of the south--who settled in Evanston and the North Shore during the Great Migration. Dino is an archivist, advocate, activist and teacher. He's written many of the stories and family biographies in Shorefront's Journal. In 2019, he presented before the Evanston Preservation Commission and the Evanston City Council to call for theFamily Focus Evanston building (formerly Foster School) at 2010 Dewey St. to receive landmark status to protect it from being sold or demolished (the status was granted). Recently, Robinson worked with the City to designate eight African American sites in Evanston with historical markers to link the history of African Americans in Evanston to the vibrant community that exists in the city today. Much of Robinson's work over the years provided the foundation for Evanston's reparations initiative, the first reparations effort in the nation. Dino Robinson is someone you should know. Read my 2019 interview with him here: bit.ly/3a6UqXK. Make sure to visit Shorefront. It's open for visitors by arrangement. Check out its website at shorefrontlegacy.org. You can contribute to support Dino's work on the website. And while you're here, contribute to the reparations fund that's administered by a group of Black Evanston leaders and chaired by Dino Robinson. The group is the Reparations Stakeholder Authority of Evanston. The fund is held by the Evanston Community Foundation. Contribute here: bit.ly/ReparationsECF
Pastor Monte Dillard Sr. 10th Anniversary
First Church of God Congregants celebrate Monte Dillard's 10 years as Pastor and Community Leader _________ Last Saturday, First Church of God Christian Life Center's congregation celebrated Pastor Monte' L. G. Dillard, Sr.'s 10th anniversary leading the church and his civic leadership in Evanston. Of course, because of the pandemic, the celebration was virtual, with a (very!) long car parade past the church, at 1524 Simpson St., led by Evanston Police Department cars and Evanston Fire Department trucks. Pastor Dillard, among his many roles in Evanston, is a chaplain with EFD. He also serves on the City's Equity and Empowerment Commission and on the Reparations Stakeholders Authority, a group of Black leaders and community members that will administer reparations funds. First Church of God was the venue for the first Reparations Town Hall, which took place in December 2019. Before the parade, I spoke to Pastor Dillard and asked him what the past 10 years have meant to him. "The last decade has been an amazing journey. Moving my family to the Evanston community, getting integrated initially as the leader of my congregation, and now having been able to be a leader in our community has been tremendous," he said. I asked him what challenges and accomplishments he's seen in Evanston in the past decade. "Evanston is a community of tremendous accomplishments and promise. Like anywhere, there are still things where we're working out, but I'm proud of the upward trajectory that that our church, and myself as a leader, and our city, has been able to continue to accomplish," he said. "One of the things I've appreciated about the city of Evanston, is that the acknowledgement level, though probably challenging to get there on some levels, has these last several years seemed to be something that people are willing to get to. Until we first say hey, these are problems, we can't begin to put the action steps necessary towards fixing them. A lot of communities live in denial. They reject acknowledgement, they refuse to acknowledge that certain realities are true for certain people. I appreciate that the city of Evanston has shown itself to not shy away from acknowledgement. I'm not here to suggest that we do that perfectly, but I'm proud to see the things that I've seen and been able to be a part of it this last 10 years." I asked Pastor Dillard how he feels work toward reparations in Evanston in progressing. "I think that our city being a model, having been the first city to pass that reparations work, will go down in history as one thing that we will always be known for," he said. "I think the progress in many ways has been right, what it will be for anybody who is creating a blueprint as you go. This was a new trail being blazed. So you have to craft it and curate it and created as you go. The truth is, whenever you're the first to do something, you're writing the playbook. Hopefully the learnings that the city of Evanston has had through this process, other cities will be able to benefit from. Whenever you are trailblazers, you kind of grow as you go." Lifelong resident Leticia Barge, 72, was on hand for the celebration. She lives at Jacob Blake Manor, which she chose because it's walking distance to the church. "I've never sat up under a more annointed man," she said of Pastor Dillard. "I have learned so much. He has taught me to apply the word, live the word, and allow the word to change me. He's such a valuable asset to Evanston." Minister Neticia Waldron, a member of First Church and author of "Worship and Warfare: A Navigational Tool for Spiritual Victory," said Pastor Dillard is wise beyond his years. "He has a lot of influence in our community and we come with excitement to say thank you for his dedicated service. He has shown us that even if you're young you can do it. He brings hope, and charisma, and confidence that all things are possible," she said. ________ Watch a clip from the first Reparations Town Hall here: facebook.com/watch/?v=474179746565383 Watch the entire first Reparations Town Hall here: youtube.com/watch?v=vsTyypyz9ZQ Read about Evanston Cradle to Career's Advocates for Action program and Pastor Dillard's guiding role with this group of community leaders: http://bit.ly/2Ydq2o0. Read about the HELPS conference Pastor Dillard holds each year to encourage everyone to live to their fullest potential, whether they are cut out to serve as leaders, or to contribute behind the scenes: youtube.com/watch?v=9GIgckFhJaQ
UPDATE: Help raise $10,000 for Evanston's reparations.
UPDATE: Help raise $10,000 for Evanston's reparations. As of 2 p.m. Sunday, January 17, we have raised $5,291 for the Evanston Reparations Community Fund. An Evanston resident has offered to match the next $1,000 in contributions until tomorrow at 11 a.m. If you're a white or non-Black Evanston resident and you haven't already, please consider contributing to this effort now to support Reparations in Evanston. __________ Dear Evanston, Tomorrow, January 16, is my birthday, and like last year, I’m marking it by asking friends (white and non-Black) to support Evanston’s Reparations Fund by contributing toward making redress and repairing past and current harm caused to Evanston’s Black families, Black neighborhoods, Black institutions, and Black businesses. Our friends. Our neighbors. Our co-workers. Evanston's reparations fund is a starting point for addressing the long (and continuing) legacy of systemic racism and oppression in the city. As just one example, Evanston’s white families out-earn Black families by $46,000. Many of Evanston’s Black families, who have been here four and five generations-- their ancestors having fled racial terror in the south--are being forced to leave Evanston because they’re being priced out. Evanston's Black residents are also over-policed, under-resourced, their children continue to face an opportunity gap at school, and our Black friends have a shorter life expectancy than white residents. Last year, thanks to everyone’s contributions, we raised $2,500. But my goal this year is greater: I hope to raise $10,000 or more. Since last year, when Evanston was the first City in the country to pass its resolution, the local Reparations movement has gained steam, and with Evanston as their role model, other cities in the US have passed reparations resolutions. But to date, Evanston is the only government entity that has identified a funding stream: three percent of the tax from cannabis sales, which became legal in Illinois last January, is transferred directly into the City's reparations fund to support homeownership and economic development. But I believe strongly that it's also incumbent on white and non-Black Evanston residents, regardless of how long we've lived here, to contribute to reparations (financially and with action). Recently, a new fund was established, held by the Evanston Community Foundation, which will be managed by The Reparations Authority of Evanston, a group of stakeholders, Black leaders and community members, that's currently being formed. To contribute: -- Click bit.ly/ReparationsECF -- Make your contribution -- In the "notes" section, mention my birthday fundraiser. You can also send your contribution by check to: Evanston Community Foundation 1560 Sherman Avenue Suite 535 Evanston, IL 60201 On the Memo line, write: Nina Kavin fundraiser/ECRF To kick off this fundraiser, I spoke to 5th ward Ald. Robin Rue Simmons, who introduced the reparations resolution to Evanston’s City Council last year, and to Dino Robinson, founder and executive director of Shorefront Legacy Center, whose years of research and gathering of stories and artifacts from Black families in Evanston and on the North Shore was, and continues to be, instrumental in shaping Evanston's reparations initiative. Please watch the whole video! Questions? Don't hesitate to email me. Finally: please don't request a tax deduction for this contribution. This is not charity. This is our responsibility (as is continuing to support Black organizations and Black businesses). Thanks so much for reading, for celebrating my birthday with me, and for supporting reparations in Evanston. If you'd like to learn more about why reparations and other racial justice work is close to my heart, you can read the presentation I gave recently to a symposium in Amherst, MA, which also just passed a Reparations resolution: bit.ly/AmherstPresentation. Finally: On January 4, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee re-introduced H.R. 40, a bill that would fund a committee to explore whether Black Americans should receive reparations for enslavement. This bill must pass. Federal Reparations are long, long, long overdue!
Jeron Dorsey talks about generosity, community, and his journey.
Jeron Dorsey: Like a Rock ___________ When Jeron Dorsey was a kid, his mom nicknamed him "Rock." He thinks it's because he had a big head. Or maybe because his head was hard. He's not sure. Regardless, starting in fourth grade, Jeron's friends started calling him Rock too, and the name stuck. Today, at 31, Dorsey is the program director at Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center. He has two small children, three months to go till he receives his MA in Sports Management from Northwestern University, and is highly respected as a role model by many in the Evanston community. With firm determination he has made his way, weathered adversities along the road, and realizes that his nickname--once attributed to his big, hard head, is now more a tribute to his big, soft, but solid heart. "Now it kind of symbolizes something different, you know, and people are making me realize that," he said when we chatted via Zoom this afternoon. ________ I've known Jeron for about three years, mostly because he's the person with whom I book the Fleetwood-Jourdain auditorium for the Dear Evanston Racial Justice Book group, and he's there to set it up and respond to all our group's needs. Even through our fairly minimal contact, I've always sensed he was special. But when I received an email from him on New Year's Eve telling me that he wanted to donate his entire $2,500 paycheck and a bunch of gift cards to the Jackson family, who a week earlier had lost their apartment and almost everything in it as a result of an early-morning fire, I knew he was a true mensch*. Jeron had heard some details about the fire from an Evanston Police Department officer who was at the scene and who went into action to mobilize support for the family. But a few days later he read the whole story about Mayra and Latwian Jackson and their two young sons in the Dear Evanston newsletter. "It actually brought me to tears," Jeron said. I was so taken with Jeron's generosity that I posted about it here on January 1. To date, the post has been seen by 22,000 people, 'liked' almost 700 times, and shared 127 times. "Well I definitely wasn't expecting that," Jeron, who isn't on Facebook laughed. I wanted to ask Jeron why he thought his action made such an impression on so many people and to find out what inspired him to such kindness. We talked about this ... and about a lot more.