Evanston youth call on City Council to support Black residents


Daily file photo by Catherine Buchaniec.

An anti-police brutality protest in Evanston on May 31. On Monday, local activists called on City Council to support black residents.

Jacob Fulton, Assistant City Editor

Evanston youth called on Evanston City Council on Monday to address the systemic disadvantages black residents face.

Resident Sinobia Aiden said the city needs to address existing disadvantages in areas including housing, education, health and employment. Aiden also criticized the city’s use of policing. She said the Evanston Police Department is used as a “violent and detrimental means” to fix issues in the city’s legislature.

Resident Nia Williams said the city needs to evaluate its funding priorities, as policing receives a significant portion of Evanston’s yearly budget. Williams said this money could be better allocated to programs with the intent to support black residents.

Aiden and Williams, along with the other young residents who spoke Monday, also organized the “Evanston Fight for Black Lives” protest on May 31.

“In 2020, policing alone receives 56 million dollars, accounting for 18 percent of Evanston’s budget while community development, health, parks and recreation and the library in total, only account for 12 percent of the budget,” Williams said. “Evanston would rather fund a system that is founded on anti-blackness than support areas of our community that are in dire need of assistance.”

Williams said the group intends to continue engaging with City Council about how it can better support the city’s black residents.

Ald. Robin Rue Simmons (5th) said she appreciated the organizers’ concerns, and invited them all to participate in the discussion around reparations in Evanston as the city prepares to implement a historic program addressing the historic disenfranchisement facing black residents.

“Thank you for your leadership, thank you for your boldness and thank you for holding us all accountable,” Rue Simmons said. “Thank you for your powerful words today. You have been heard.”

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