Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Residents call for ceasefire resolution, hold peaceful demonstration at City Council

Daily file photo by Jacob Wendler
The Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center, where many of the biggest moments in Evanston politics in 2023 took place.

Several dozen Evanston residents urged councilmembers to pass a resolution demanding a ceasefire in Gaza during Monday evening’s City Council meeting.

Residents gathered at council after the city’s Equity and Empowerment Commission discussed and voted to withdraw a proposed resolution that called for a ceasefire in Gaza on Nov. 30. The draft resolution contained 18 clauses focusing on the death of Palestinian civilians in Gaza and called for a release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas.

Over 17,700 civilians have been killed in Gaza since Hamas launched its Oct. 7 attack on Israel, in which around 1,200 people were killed, according to Palestinian and Israeli officials. The Israeli government’s bombardment of Gaza has violated international law, according to the United Nations, and has prompted calls for a permanent ceasefire from across the globe. 

Commenters Monday, many of whom said they were members of the Party for Socialism and Liberation and the U.S. Palestinian Community Network, urged City Council to reintroduce the resolution. 

“The loss of Israeli life on Oct. 7 is devastating, particularly to members of our community who have loved ones in Israel, and the subsequent Israeli bombardment of Gaza in which more than 16,000 people have been killed so far reflects a wanton disregard for human life that we must condemn,” public commenter Lynn Pollack said. “A ceasefire resolution reflects a commitment to the value of all human life.”

Following public comment, residents gathered in the chamber to peacefully demonstrate, chanting slogans and holding signs. Mayor Daniel Biss requested for the chamber to be cleared, at which point the meeting was adjourned for more than 20 minutes while protestors were escorted out of the chamber by Evanston police. 

Many public commenters at the Nov. 30 Equity and Empowerment Commission meeting urged the commissioners to pull the resolution, saying it was “one-sided.” A letter circulated ahead of the meeting, which was signed by over one thousand community members, criticized the resolution for not making direct reference to Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack against Israel.

Though the resolution was withdrawn, some residents have since called for the commission to be disbanded. Many commenters Monday said that they felt criticisms of the commission were driven by racism. The commission’s current chair, Darlene Cannon, and former chair, Karla Thomas, are both Black.

“The vitriol directed at this commission and the subsequent efforts to investigate and disband the commission are inappropriate and antithetical to the community’s stated values,” public commenter Robin Brown said. “The resolution was not divisive, but the response certainly was.”

Public commenters at Monday’s meeting commended the Equity and Empowerment Commission for introducing the resolution. 

Calls for a ceasefire have grown nationwide after the U.S. was the sole member of the United Nations Security Council to vote against a ceasefire resolution on Dec. 8.

Several public commenters read from a written statement signed by over 140 Evanston community members echoing support for the Equity and Empowerment Commission while advocating for a ceasefire. 

While the commission decided the resolution is beyond its scope, the letter argues that the issue has “real impacts on the way people of color are treated in our community.” Some commissioners and commenters on Nov. 30 argued that because the commission deals with Evanston-related issues, the war in Gaza does not fall within its purview.

The Equity and Empowerment Commission has not said whether it will bring forth another resolution. 

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @lilylcarey

Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @avanidkalra

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