Michael Nabors, president of Evanston NAACP and senior pastor of the Second Baptist Church, speaks at Monday night’s anti-racism rally. Credit: Duncan Agnew

More than 100 people showed up in downtown Evanston Monday night to raise their voices against racism in light of Saturday’s attack in Buffalo by a white supremacist that killed 10 people and injured three others. Among the victims, 11 were black.

The rally also addressed issues closer to home, after three nooses were found hanging in a tree between Kingsley Elementary School and Haven Middle School in Evanston on Friday.

“We gather tonight with hearts that are hurt and filled with rage, all at once,” said Reverend Michael Nabors, NAACP local chapter president and senior pastor of Evanston Second Baptist Church. “We are angry after the discovery of nooses tied around tree branches near Haven and Kingsley Schools. This act of terror is extraordinary violence against people of color and lovers of justice of all colors.

Dozens of Evanston leaders and residents gathered with protesters in Fountain Square, which took place at dusk on Monday.

The Evanston branch of the NAACP helped organize the event along with the Interfaith Houses of Worship, Evanston Own It and Evanston Cradle to Career.

As the sun dipped below the horizon and the temperature cooled after a warm spring day, the multiracial crowd held signs reading “Black Lives Matter” and “End White Supremacy.” Evanston Mayor Daniel Biss and council members Jonathan Nieuwsma, 4th Ward, and Juan Geracaris, 9th Ward, joined the protesters.

Nabors explained the powerful threat posed by slipknots.

He said he and his family had recently discovered that his great-grandfather’s brother “was found hanging from a tree in Richmond County, Indiana” in 1885, according to a column published in the Indianapolis Star, calling the death “nothing less than a lynching.” ”

“That’s why nooses are never okay,” Nabors said.

Evanston faith leaders originally planned to gather in the area where the nooses were hanging on Monday, Nabors told the Roundtable, but Saturday’s attack in Buffalo prompted them to hold a larger rally in the center. of Evanston.

“Maybe this can be the epicenter of starting a goodwill movement to end racism,” Nabors said. “Because you have to crush it. You have to defeat him. You have to kill him. I’m not talking about the racist, but I’m talking about racism.

Nabors was followed by a list of Evanston religious leaders, including Reverend Kalif Crutcher of New Hope CME Evanston, Reverend Eileen Wiviott of Evanston Unitarian Church, Reverend Michael Kirby of Northminster Presbyterian Church, Rabbi Rachel Weiss of the Jewish Reconstruction Congregation and Pastor Monte Dillard of the First Church of God.

“It seems like, often, we gather in circles to speak out against the forms of racial violence and anti-Black bias that are taking place in the city that many of us call home,” said Crutcher, who was born and grew up in Buffalo before becoming an Evanston pastor.

“We can no longer gather in spaces of mourning, grief and collective grief, but rather have a duty and responsibility to continue the work of eradicating racial violence from our city.”

At the rally, Crutcher wore a Buffalo Bills football jersey to represent his hometown as he mourned the lives lost in the grocery store attack.

Like the other speakers, Crutcher spoke of feeling a weariness of spirit with the repeated need to demonstrate and denounce racism as having no place in Evanston, only to see racial violence continue.

In his speech, Biss condemned conservative politicians and media figures for pushing replacement theory, a white supremacist doctrine that has no basis in fact. The theory was cited by the Buffalo shooter in a 180-page manifesto as part of his push for the offense.

Authorities said the killer drove several hours from his home to attack black shoppers at a grocery store in a predominantly black neighborhood.

The replacement theory, Biss explained, is the racist idea that white Americans are driven out of power by immigrants and people of color.

“This hatred has been widespread, and it’s a choice that we cannot accept,” Biss said. “We cannot allow digital tools to continue pushing this hatred into the eyes and ears of people who are lost and looking for answers. We cannot accept as a reasonable part of our discourse national election candidates who peddle this form of hate.

Every city has a responsibility to weed out racist ideologies like mainstream replacement theory, Biss said, and only then can Evanston move beyond rallying against racism.

Rally participant Germaine Newsome, a Second Baptist Church deaconess, an Evanston resident with three grown children who attended Evanston Public Schools and is a graduate of ETHS, told the roundtable that the her children’s education was affected by racism. She said she had to advocate for her children to be treated fairly when it came to the classes they were assigned to and their basic schedules.

“The AP classes, the honor classes, even though they were testing them…other parents and students didn’t want black kids in those classes,” Newsome said. “When our children were tested [AP and Honors classes]we had to go in and talk to the administration as they were trying to place them in regular classes.

District 65 mother Cherita Williams also spoke of her anger and disappointment after nooses were found near the school.

Williams helped organize a group of more than 100 parents and family members of Haven students who gathered outside the school on Monday morning and afternoon to ensure students had a safe path and favorable to enter and exit the building.

According to Evanston Police Department Commander Ryan Glew, the noose investigation is active and ongoing.

Police are “researching and reviewing available surveillance footage,” Glew told the roundtable on Monday.

No suspects are in custody, and the investigation is not at the stage where the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office has enough evidence to review possible charges, according to Glew.

A Friday night email from District 65 Superintendent Devon Horton to families at the schools said, “Haven students were reportedly seen singing and carrying ropes to where the nooses were found .”

But, over the weekend, Evanston Police Sgt. Ken Carter said there was “no indication” that the nooses found on Friday were linked to the student protest against teacher transfers in Haven.

Speaking at the rally, Williams said: “We want to bring our community together. We want to know that our children are taken care of, all of our children. … The fight will continue until everyone has opportunities, everyone can go places, everyone can achieve the same as everyone else.

Source link