Community anti-violence initiatives posted online

Susan Du, City Editor

Discussion of proposals gathered from a community anti-violence meeting held last month have now been moved online at, where residents can comment or post additional ideas for promoting peace in Evanston.

Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl held a public forum on anti-violence initiatives last month, drawing more than 400 participants and aggregating a list of 16 proposals that have been posted online.

The forum and subsequent community mobilization to address and cease local violence derived from the Sept. 22 shooting death of Evanston Township High School freshman Dajae Coleman. Coleman was walking home from a party with a group of friends when a local man allegedly mistook them for another group of youth with whom he had an argument earlier in the evening and shot at them, Evanston Police Cmdr. Jay Parrott said. Coleman was shot through the heart while trying to run away with his friends.

EPD charged Wesley Woodson III, 20, with first-degree murder and aggravated discharge of a firearm in connection to the Coleman case. 

As part of a city-wide anti-violence campaign, forums at ETHS will be held to discuss school and community safety. The city also announced that the long-awaited gun-buyback program will be held Dec. 15. EPD anticipates that the buyback program will succeed in rounding up about 100 firearms, mostly from law-abiding people. However, any reduction in guns will decrease gun accident rates as well as the likelihood of firearms being stolen and used in crimes, Parrott said.

Initiatives brainstormed by residents and later posted on the Engage Evanston website include creating an atmosphere of responsibility and respect, creating more safe places for youth, holding community dinners, revising curfew law, creating mentorship programs, giving all ETHS students the chance to participate in summer apprenticeships and raising awareness of current programs.