Video: Mayoral forum

Evanston Now was live from tonight's mayoral forum at Chute Elementary School. Watch a replay of the video.

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Why I'll vote for Steve Hagerty

At last night's forum, I thought some of the differences between the mayoral candidates were pretty clear, especially in their answers to the first two questions, which were about priorities for Evanston, and what the candidates have personally done to understand the need for racial equity. I particularly appreciated the way that second question was phrased. I want to vote for a mayor who's already doing what he thinks needs to be done, not for somebody who will give it a try once he's in office with who knows what success. I also want a mayor who's got a broad view of Evanston and its gifts and challenges, and that's why I'll vote for Steve Hagerty.

I think if you're white, as I am, and middle- or upper-class, Evanston is a pretty good place to live. If you're black or brown, not so much. Your kids are held back from achieving as much in school as the white kids do and are much less likely to wind up in a good job. As an adult you're much more likely to get pulled over for driving with darker skin. You may even wind up getting arrested for collecting signatures on a petition or for fixing your car. 

I believe it's very clear from police response to Lawrence Crosby and Devon Reid that implicit bias is a serious factor in actions taken by the Evanston Police Department, as it is in police departments across the country. I think Evanston faces a choice: it can go the route that Chicago has gone, awarding large amounts to people who were treated unfairly, or it can work to solve the problem at its source. I liked the way Steve Hagerty emphasized the need for anti-bias training at EPD.

In answer to the question about equity, I commend Mark Tendam for his willingness to listen, which is better than unwillingness to listen, but it's also a pretty passive response. I know from personal experience that listening isn't enough. As a white person, it takes commitment and hard work to discover the biases I was raised with and work to change them, not just by listening but by showing up, getting involved, making friends, stepping out of my white bubble to connect with people who don't look like me. I've seen Steve Hagerty at diversity trainings and similar events around Evanston, so I know he's serious and ready to put his efforts where his mouth is.

Brian Miller seems to have a narrow view of life in Evanston, his answers were almost all about bike traffic and relations with police. He's been on City Council for two years and wants to jump now to the office of the mayor, so I wonder what further ambitions he has. I'd like to have a mayor whose ambitions are for Evanston, not for himself. 

I thought Tendam's answer on priorities was illuminating as well; he wants to focus on jobs and housing, but said nothing about the discrimination that shapes what actually happens in the real worlds of jobs and housing. I think that until racial discrimination in Evanston is directly addressed, jobs and housing markets aren't going to change much for anyone who isn't white.

Jeff Smith seems to enjoy patting himself on the back for having lived in Evanston for so long and seems to want to keep it in a glass case so it doesn't change much. From my mayor, I want to hear energy for changing what needs fixing, and I hear that from Steve Hagerty, even when he's under the weather as he was for last night's forum.

And I was frankly appalled at Jeff Smith's description of the Crosby incident as an "outlier," which tells me he's in a bubble, as I used to be, and not talking to Evanston's communities of color. (Apparently in his bubble women are so "fierce" that they don't need help protecting their rights. I beg to differ.)

Of course Smith is right that the Evanston Police Department is "good folks." Most of the white people in Evanston are good folks, too, and as every white person hears in every diversity training, being good folks isn't enough any more. It's never been good enough, and that's the single biggest reason why even after the Civil Rights Movement racism has never gone away or even changed much, as I believe we're now witnessing in Washington. I believe that white people have to do what I call white people work, they have to see the racism they were raised with, look it in the face and change it. I started doing that a few years ago, the rewards are huge and I'm finally on the right side of history. It's work I believe that Steve Hagerty is doing. I liked the way Steve applauded the EPD for its quick responses to Devon Reid's arrest, I think we all need to encourage and support EPD in making those very hard changes in its biases and procedures.

Gary Gaspard spoke powerfully about the paradigm shift that's needed in our society, in how black men and children are seen. I liked his answers about working with Rauner to understand that each community's needs are unique and about collaborating with Daniel Biss and Robyn Gabel. I'm sorry to say that I missed some of his other answers, both because the microphones weren't adequate and because I sometimes found his accent a barrier. I think Evanston would benefit from many of the skills and expertise listed on his brochure. Steve Hagerty has been endorsed by Peter Braithwaite and Lorraine Morton, two prominent members of Evanston's black community, and I am influenced by their endorsements in supporting Steve Hagerty.

we have a winner!

"Jeff Smith seems to enjoy patting himself on the back for having lived in Evanston for so long and seems to want to keep it in a glass case so it doesn't change much. "

This has to be the best comment that I've seen on Evanston Now - EVER! Witty, concise, truthful.

Alternative facts

You must have been at a different forum. At this one, Steve Hagerty seemed stumped and flustered at the question about what he's personally done to promote racial equity. From what I recall he said something about spending more time with black people over the last year and a half, and then started talking about how his proposal to privatize the Harley Clarke mansion would somehow help with equity.  It is telling that Hagerty's supporters need to immediately spin "alternative facts" about his performances at these forums. To anyone reading these comments, I suggest watching the video before being swayed by the Hagerty Bots and their propaganda-like comments. 

Bots?

To anyone ready to watch the video, I found the sound a bit muddy and the voices easier to hear when I use earbuds.

I don't work for the Hagerty campaign, and it sounds like you ("A guy (not verified)") might prefer one of the other candidates, would you care to share whom you support?

I first met Steve shortly after he announced his candidacy. I spoke to him for about 20 minutes at a community event and came away with a favorable impression of a positive, thoughtful, knowledgeable person ready to put everything he had into being a good mayor. I heard him speak pretty clearly about the value of making Evanston more equitable and, as I said in my original post, I've seen him put his efforts where his mouth is by showing up when it counts.  I've since spoken with him several other events. I heard from a mutual friend that he was a little under the weather at the forum. I don't know what equity-related events the other candidates have attended.

I had heard of the Smith, Miller and Tendam campaigns before attending the forum. I lived for 15 months in the 6th Ward and had seen Mark Tendam speak at Ward meetings. I hadn't heard about Gary Gaspard's campaign and have read his brochure, and if I regret anything about my original post it is that I might have chosen instead to speak to him personally before writing on Steve Hagerty's behalf. I was intrigued by Brian Miller's idea of an independent review board overseeing EPD's use of force and would be interested to hear the opinion of Dr. Gilo Kwesi Logan (who's been working with EPD on equity issues) and the other candidates on that. As an environmentalist I expected to like Jeff Smith better than I did.

Why?

I think if you're white, as I am, and middle- or upper-class, Evanston is a pretty good place to live. If you're black or brown, not so much. Your kids are held back from achieving as much in school as the white kids.

I don't understand this statement - Alyce can you help explain.  Thank  you

Ms. Berry- That you would

Ms. Berry- That you would endeavor to cure yourself from implicit bias disease is commendable. Please don't assume that all, or even most, share your affliction including EPD. Your guilt might possibly be offset by seeing firsthand just what a police officer's job entails especially in beats with high calls for service. Ride alongs are free as is enlistment in the Citizen's Police Academy.  

Your alignment with Alderman Braithwaite's endorsement would suggest that you agree with his accusation (to Police officers of color) that the "Community" is being "brutalized" on a regular basis. A highly inflammatory, unfounded, and irresponsible statement as your is stating that non white students are "held back" from achieving as much in school as white kids.

Took the Police Academy last year

Emm Vincent – Thanks for your reply to my post. I took the Citizen's Police Academy course last spring. It's a worthwhile course for learning how a police department really works (as opposed to TV shows). I got to know some of the many good people who work at EPD, got a tour of the inside of the building, did a ride-along, learned what happens when somebody calls 911, and much more.

In that class I was also shown a video in which all the criminals were black and all the police officers were white. I pointed that out and asked the officer presenting it to consider reviewing and re-editing it from that perspective. 

On one tour through the building, I passed a huge bulletin board on which every wanted poster showed a black face. We're a majority white community with a majority white university in it, I asked, are you really telling me there aren't any white people committing crimes in Evanston? No white students selling or possessing pot or cocaine? No white adults guilty of domestic violence? No white businesspeople committing white-collar crime? It's been said by people more expert than me, that racial profiling is a self-fulfilling prophecy: if a police department looks for crime only in the black community, it might fail to notice the crime happening in the white community.

One of the biases inside the brains of many white people is that black people are more often arrested because they're more criminal by nature. That's an erroneous belief that scholars say stems from a post-slavery practice known as "convict leasing." I encourage you, and everyone else reading this page, to watch a documentary about it called "Slavery by Another Name," if you haven't already, it can be watched for free here, http://www.pbs.org/tpt/slavery-by-another-name/watch/

Before slavery ended, the stereotype was quite different, that black people were cheerful and loyal, because of course that suited the pro-slavery narrative. The stereotype shifted when white business owners wanted their free labor source back, and found a way to do it.

I didn't assume that all or even most Evanstonians share my view of EPD as operating from bias because I don't think they do. If they did, I think EPD might have been persuaded to revise its procedures long ago and the Crosby incident might not have happened. The officers might have realized that bias might underlie the 911 call they'd received about Mr. Crosby fixing his car and proceeded with more caution and respect.

EPD isn't alone, police departments across the country are having this same struggle.

If I didn't say it clearly enough, let me say it again: it's 100% possible to be a "good person" and still have implicit bias that affects your actions. In fact, if you were raised in this culture, it's about 100% likely, because racial bias is deeply embedded in this culture. If you're also a police officer with a gun and the permission to use it, that bias can help bring about the end of an innocent person's life, and that's what the Black Lives Matter movement seeks to call attention to, the destructive role that bias can play. To find out how biased your brain is, you can take the Harvard University test at https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html 

And if you find as I did, as I think everyone does, that your brain is biased, it's not hopeless. As I said in my original post, it makes a huge difference to start connecting with folks who don’t look like you, and it's well worth it, it's a gift.

Mayoral Candidate forum

Couldn't understand a complete sentence of anyone on Utube mayoral forum.  From the post above that is supporting Mr. Hagerty and her references to race, I think if a person would try to think outside the box and try to understand the words of Dr. King regarding judging (if appropriate) a person by their character and how they present themselves then the world would be a better place. Each work a person does is work of the mind and the character of the mind is the character of the work.  Young minds must be cultivated.  Some people of color have not had the priviledge or the understanding of their parental guidance to live in a world that is based on discipline.  It is a cultural challenge to live in a box and a choice of the individual to try and cope with what is expected of them and sometimes fall short of general opinions.  This goes for all humans.  Sometimes there are no second chances for first impressions.  One would gather that the  assessment of Hagerty would be from a person that would fit his character as such of the establishment for years that has been the perspective of how Evans Town would maintain the status quo.  The very reason that many of the residents would make a change and move on because of this very limited view of what could make Evans Town a place for all to live.  The very reason that those that graduated from ETHS and realized that Evans Town was indeed an experiement and they profited from the knowledge to the extent they would never return to give back to the community because of the thinking that nothing will change.  I applaud those men and women that believe that they can make a difference and have stayed or those that are new to the city and have the vision that their experience, outside of the so called experiments in learning. have put forth an effort to at least create an atmosphere that just maybe their strength of character would be recognized and not looked upon in disdain because of the color or their skin.   I would hope that those like- minded people would give Mr. Smith the votes that he deserves. His work has taken him places that would bring a different point of view and a breath of fresh air to meet the challenge of this small town with high principles of self esteem that is trying to  keep up with the expectations of what is expected of those that find a lovely existence of living in the bubble and yet give those that are not so priviledge at least  hope that their voices will be heard and acted upon. 

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