Evanston faith community rallies after racist hate crimes in Evanston and Buffalo


Joanne Haner/Daily Senior Staffer

Evanston faith community rallies after racist hate crimes

Aviva Bechky and Avani Kalra

Content warning: This article discusses anti-Black hate crimes and murders.

Standing in front of a crowd of about 200, Rev. Kalif Crutcher of New Hope Evanston called for police reform, school environments safe from racism and the passage of further voting rights.

“We must demand justice. We must demand equality. We must demand equity, and we must demand liberation,” Crutcher said in an impassioned sermon. “Evanston, we have a job to do.”

Crutcher was one of eight faith leaders, politicians and community members who spoke at an interfaith rally in Fountain Square Monday evening. Motivated by recent racist acts of terror in Evanston and Buffalo, New York, faith leaders and community advocates called upon the community to enact change instead of waiting for the next hate crime to take place.

On Friday, parents found nooses hanging between Haven Middle School and Kingsley Elementary School on Friday. Haven students were allegedly seen that day chanting and carrying ropes while protesting districtwide staffing changes, according to an email from Evanston/Skokie School District 65 Superintendent Devon Horton. 

Rev. Michael Nabors, senior pastor of Second Baptist Church and president of Evanston/North Shore Branch NAACP, said he began organizing Monday night’s event after hearing about the nooses.

The next day, on Saturday, a gunman killed 10 people and wounded three — 11 of whom were Black — in a Buffalo grocery store. 

“Nationally, the change I have seen is that things have gotten worse,” Nabors said, reflecting on the past seven years in which he’s held rallies against hate.

He said Evanston’s interfaith community and the city’s NAACP branch have been participating in community rallies against hate since 2015, when a white supremacist opened fire in the Emanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston, South Carolina. 

Nabors said he continues to organize after each instance of hate to empower young people. 

“My generation is not going to hand y’all a better world,” Nabors said. “But what we can do is say, y’all can make the world better because we failed, because we didn’t do right.”

Two people sit behind drums, in front of a sign reading “Drumming for Healing Peace.”
Joanne Haner/Daily Senior Staffer










Mayor Daniel Biss gestures in front of a microphone. (Joanne Haner/Daily Senior Staffer)

Nabors called for white residents to express their support outside of a rally setting. He suggested that white Evanston residents participate in honest conversations through race solidarity circles and listen to the experiences of Black residents while sharing a meal. 

Evanston Township High School sophomore Malory Frouin told the crowd she is sick of attending rallies. Frouin said they’ve lived in Evanston for one year and don’t think white residents are doing enough to combat racism. 

“My experience in Evanston has been white liberals trying to out-liberal each other instead of supporting Black people,” she said in their speech. “Why do we still have to come here and have these talks and tell white people, ‘Hey, racism is bad’? Why do we have to remind them of our hurt every single day of our lives?”

Frouin was one of many who called upon white Evanston residents to act. ETHS teacher Kendra, who requested her last name be omitted for professional safety, said it’s not enough to just show up to rallies.

Instead, she advocated for white residents to engage in anti-racist work at home and in their communities, especially in light of the hate crimes allegedly perpetrated by middle schoolers. 

“What are you taking home with you today? Will you forget all about this, or are you having those hard conversations when you go back to your dinner table?” she said. “It starts with your parents. It starts with your grandparents.” 

At the event, a care stand gave out free water and granola bars. A few attendees held up Black Lives Matter signs, and two people played tumba drums near the front.

Chicago resident Leroy Viamille— who played throughout the rally — said he grew up drumming. The drums are traditionally played while people are speaking, he added.

Drumming “adds soul to the atmosphere,” Viamille said. “It’s the roots, African roots.”

Some rally-goers brought their children. Evanston resident Miah Logan brought her young son to the event. She said this wasn’t his first rally, and she’s already seen him become more comfortable speaking his mind.

“We brought him to every rally or every protest because we want him to see that he has a voice, that he can speak up, and that people will listen,” Logan said. “You may feel small, but people will listen.”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @avivabechky

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @avanidkalra

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