Evanston’s new equity and empowerment coordinator, Patricia Efiom, will seek Human Services Committee approval Monday for a plan of action with seven goals she hopes the city will focus on over the next 18 months.


A reader of the four-page plan would conclude that essentially all the city’s equity issues are tied to race.

Race and related terms are mentioned 16 times in the document, while gender and socio-economic status are each mentioned only once. Issues of equity for the disabled and the elderly are mentioned not at all.

There’s no doubt that race is an important factor that needs to be addressed to make Evanston a more equitable community.

But where in this plan are the issues raised by the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign last year of economic inequality and how low and moderate income people of all races are suffering in this economy?

To point to just one recent example, it’s not just black and Latino residents who are affected by the relative over-assessment of homes in moderate income neighborhoods.

Given that blacks and Latinos are more likely than whites to also be poor, there’s a big overlap between issues of poverty and race.

But to systematically exclude consideration for the poor who happen to be white from the discussion of equity burns bridges to potential political allies and encourages the political polarization that at the national level has brought us our current president.

Evanston can do better than that.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. While I agree that there are

    While I agree that there are other equity issues for the city to address, race is often where we see the starkest differences in our community and other communities across the nation and globe. By tackling racial equity issues, I believe we will solve many other challenges facing other groups along the way. I have yet to read Pat’s report, but look forward to the presentation Monday. Does it include her survey results? I recall the survey being a big focus of hers during the listening sessions held in the spring.

  2. Not Equity
    I appreciate Bill Smith writing this article and bringing it to readers’ attention. I had hoped Evanston’s equity efforts could focuses on being inclusive, but sadly, this is not the case. Evanston has an opportunity to be inclusive of all, including people of different economic means, different abilities, and different family structures. Unfortunately, this race-based vision of equity promotes anything but. This equity plan doesn’t help other marginalized groups, and it’s not anti-racism; it’s just anti-white.

  3. City’s new equity goal–help seek fairness in assessments

    Thank you for this viewpoint. As an equity issue, the City of Evanston should be leading the way to help residents address the unfairness in property tax assessments brought to light by the Chicago Tribune.  It constitutes theft by the Assessor’s Office.

    This so-called plan is anything but inclusive so it needs to be adjusted.  Yes, race continues to be an important equity issue. But it is not the only equity issue.  Shine a light on the challenges for low-income and middle-income Evanstonians and develop ways to lift those boats as a group.

    Also, how about a goal for helping the elderly and disabled stay in their Evanston homes and access services?  Agreed that this is a diversity issue as well. 

  4. White privilege is racist language
    The term white privilege is offensive, divisive and racist. There are more white Americans living in poverty than non-white Americans. Tell them they’re privileged and see what happens.

    Our liberal Democratic party leaders created the new equity and empowerment coordinator last year and hired Patricia Efiom, a pastor who earns $110,000 in her new governmental position. Whatever happened to the concept of separation of church and state?

    Efiom moved to Evanston 7 years ago. She raised her kids in Bloomington, Indiana and was quoted as saying her kids were often the only children of color in their grade. “I quickly learned the way to go about it was not to get angry but rather to educate myself and educate the people around you,” Efiom told the Daily Northwestern. Get angry about what? That her children were the only “children of color” in school? And what education did she give the people around her, presumably that were not “colored?” The reporter never asked the obvious questions.

    The equity concept tossed around now is nothing but wealth redistribution rooted on the facets of socialism and communism. The added flavor of the day is the victimization of groups that compete for this new found wealth the government takes from some and redistributes it to others for more votes. D202 paid tons of money to the Pacific Education Group that held seminars on how to spot and eliminate institutional racism. Since then the high school has held events ONLY for students of :”color.”

    Our well paid equity overlord will now tell fellow non-colored Evanstonians that they must pay a price for their “white privilege.” The city can’t meet its budget yet it has millions sitting in the affordable housing fund that was extorted (for lack of a better term) from developers and homeowners.

    The Great Recession began a decade ago with naive and shortsighted federal policies that loosened lending regulations under the guise that “everyone” should own a home – hence the term, equity. As a result, anyone with a pulse could get a loan. The second the real estate market sputtered a bit folks who got a mortgage with barely anything down and who took out second and third mortgages simply walked and the foreclosure fever hit with a vengeance. In 2008, the City of Evanston applied for a federal stabilization grant, identifying two neighborhoods with numerous foreclosures. The feds under Obama gave Evanston $18 million to buy distressed properties, fix them up and sell and rent as affordable housing (dog whistle for low income). In other words, the feds enacted poor policy that led to the banking and real estate crisis and borrowed from taxpayers to bail out the bankers and mostly low income folks who walked away from their mortgages. The irony is most property owners who still had EQUITY stuck it out. Who’s looking out for them?

    There are good people working in our city but those at the top are nuts and so out of touch its embarrassing and borderline criminal. We need to vote them all out and clean house not just at the city level but at the county and state level. Remember, state lawmakers, mostly Democrats, just raised our income taxes AGAIN!.

    Someone ask Efiom how equity can be attained. When can everyone be “equal?” Is there an end game? Here’s my idea of equity – less taxes, more private sector jobs.

    It is a privilege to be an American. It is a curse to be a liberal, which holds dear everything America, the greatest nation ever known to mankind, is NOT about.

    1. Equity
      What is equity? If someone stated they were a Republican, would they be treated with equity in Evanston? Do we treat the 10-15% of our community who politically identify as Republican with equity or do we take a condescending view of them? Evanston is tolerant of everything but thought.

    2. You’ve nailed it Al.    These

      You’ve nailed it Al.    These “positions” are popping up all over the place.  EPD, library, YWCA, YMCA, all have them with many more to come and they will NEVER be eliminated as the brainwashing is now in full swing.

      1. Director of Honesty & Ethics

        Some organizations with weak leaderships feel compelled to create positions to signify their commitment to a purpose. Hence, we’ve seen many Director of Diversity or Head of Equity & Inclusion popping up at organizations in Evanston and other areas.

        But if the organizations were really committed to Equity or Diversity, shouldn’t it be part of EVERYONE’s job and responsibility? What these organizations have done is increased their bureacracy and their costs and they’ve delegated the job of Equity or Diversity to one person, instead of the entire organization. It needs to become part of the culture of the organization, not just one person’s job.

        Now there will be more meetings at these organizations, led by the Director of Diversity, so they can report that they’re actually doing something. 

        Since there are so many Directors of Diversity, maybe they can have host a conference in Evanston?

        Should organizations start to have Directors of Honesty & Ethics to signal their commitment to this important initiative?

        1. Honesty, Ethics, etc……

          Your are totally correct in saying that all employees should be practicing good ethics and promoting honesty, diversity, etc.  that should be a part of anyone’s job when hired to work with other employees and the public.  It is  TOTAL waste of money to hire ONE person to try to moniitor proper work behavior.  But it sure looks good…makes it look like Evanston, et. al, is trying to put up a great front….for $110,000 per year!   Too bad they have their blinders on….they don’t need that job position, and there always has been a lot of unethical, dishonest, racially charged behavior going on in Evanston.  People try to keep it quiet.   Will a high-salaried position put a stop to that?   I doubt it.

          1. dishonest behavior?

            Hi nally:  What “unethical, dishonest, racially charged behavior” do you believe is going on in Evanstson?

          2. Seriously?

            It’s everywhere, in every building…ask around….if anyone has the nerve to discuss it.   that’s the problem.

          3. Let’s discuss. Nally, please

            Let’s discuss. Nally, please begin by citing specific examples of the pervasive racism of which you speak and have personally witnessed.

Leave a comment
The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *