City appoints four new members to Equity and Empowerment Commission


Daily file photo by Andrea Bian

The Equity and Empowerment Commission. Darlene Cannon, Kady McFadden, Omar Salem and LaShandra Smith-Rayfield are the four commissioners appointed to the Equity and Empowerment Commission at Monday’s City Council meeting.

Alex Harrison and Katrina Pham

City Council confirmed four new appointees to Evanston’s Equity and Empowerment Commission on Monday.

The commission was created in 2018 to address systemic inequities around the city. Former 2nd Ward aldermanic candidate Darlene Cannon, Deputy Director of the Sierra Club Illinois Chapter Kady McFadden, Evanston resident Omar Salem and school administrator LaShandra Smith-Rayfield join the commission ahead of its October meeting. The new appointees bring the group’s membership to 10 commissioners.

Efforts like the Restorative Housing Reparations Program, which was initially proposed by former 5th Ward Ald. Robin Rue Simmons to the commission, are a part of the group’s work.

Additionally, the commission has met jointly with the city’s Environment Board to work on the Environmental Justice Resolution, meant to acknowledge the harm done to communities of color due to environmental injustices.

The commission’s last meeting was Sept. 16, where members provided updates on their Community Equity Survey, which is meant to help the group reflect on the effects of its initiatives regarding racial equity. The group’s next meeting is scheduled for Thursday.

Other commissioners on the team include Alds. Devon Reid (8th) and Cicely Fleming (9th) and is chaired by Alejandra Ibañez, executive director of Illinois Unidos.

After Monday’s City Council meeting, Mayor Daniel Biss told The Daily he is glad the new appointees can return the commission to a full capacity.

“The Equity and Empowerment Commission is a city priority and obviously was operating at something close to half-strength with a few recent resignations,” Biss said. “I’m glad to see a diverse, talented and dynamic group of people willing to step up and serve.”

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Twitter: @alexhairysun

Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @KatrinaPham_

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