It’s time for action! Join us this Friday at 1:30 p.m. to Denounce Racist Attacks at Niles West in solidarity with the Abolition Coalition of Skokie, NAACP Northshore, the Skokie Schools Equity Collaborative, and Niles West & Niles North students against racism.
Communities all over the country are facing pressure from right-wing groups under the pretext of countering mask mandates. At the District 64 Board Meeting last week, a group “barged through doors” (we heard they destroyed props for a student play in the process), refused to wear masks, mocked public speakers including a cancer patient and a nurse, and threatened trustees. Niles West High School experienced racist slurs directed against Black and brown students and staff incited by a mob of adults outside. Superintendent Dr. Steven Isoye stated:
“As a district, we will always condemn hatred and bullying. Hatred because of someone’s beliefs- masks or no masks-hatred because of race, racist remarks, hatred because of religion, antisemitism or Islamophobia, hatred because of gender, misogyny, and hatred because of sexual identity, transphobia, or homophobia.“
#SaveNilesLibrary Campaign Update
You helped send 822 letters to local politicians calling for action and they listened! Thank you to Ram Villivalam, Robert Martwick, Lindsey LaPointe, Larry Suffredin, and Josina Marita for signing this public letter calling for an end to the board’s hiring freeze.
Last month’s library board meeting was a long (over 5 hours!) and embarrassing display of dysfunction. But there are two key takeaways. Carolyn Drblik, Joe Makula, and Suzanne Schoenfeldt continue to block the appointment of a trustee to the vacancy, leading the Secretary of State to escalate the issue to the Attorney General. Library staff union members stood behind State Senator Ram Villivalam, as he read this letter during public comments. He demanded an end to the board’s unnecessary and harmful hiring freeze, pointing to problems covering service desks, properly maintaining the building, and the loss of public programs.
This month’s Niles-Maine District library board meeting is Wednesday, February 16th at 6:30pm, and the public is encouraged to attend in person or online. On the agenda there is no motion to fill the trustee position that has been vacant since August, leaving the many qualified applicants who are willing to serve on our library board unable to help.
Neoliberalism & the Public Library
This month we hosted a speaker session with librarian Stavroula Harissis to put the attack on our Niles-Maine District Library in a broader context. She is the author of “The Fight for Public Library Funding, Demonstrate Value or Demonstrate in the Streets?” We were so fortunate to have the opportunity to host Stavroula and the presentation was excellent. By understanding the cause we can mitigate the symptoms now and into the future to save our library! You can find the presentation portion shared on our Youtube channel: Neoliberalism & the Public Library
Niles Youth Community
We’re looking to mobilize Niles youth to have their voices represented in our community. This past week WTTW Chicago featured the Niles Teen Center. We love seeing Niles youth celebrated, and we think it’s important to have their voice represented in a more official capacity. The Niles Youth Community is looking to make that happen. Please send us a message at <firstname.lastname@example.org> if you or young people you know are interested in organizing in Niles!
Community Relations Commission
With the attack on our library, anti-mask mobs hurling racial slurs at students, and antisemitic vandalism, now would be the perfect time for our Community Relations Commision (CRC) to uphold its mission and bring our community together. For months, we have been calling for the removal of Carolyn Drblik from the CRC and for this body to take proactive measures against racism and hate in Niles. Please email us <email@example.com> to let us know if you too want to have a strong CRC with commissioners that represent the diversity of our community.
Golf Mill Plans
Have you seen the plans for renovation at Golf Mill? We’ve seen very little chatter on social media, and we want to know what you think. Send us an email <firstname.lastname@example.org> with your thoughts and concerns, because it’s going to be important for the Village to continue hearing from the community as the plans move forward.
Love you! <3
Thanks for reading, see you Friday at Niles West!