Hello neighbors, it’s time once again for our monthly newsletter we call the DISPATCH! Here are some quick snippets of what’s going down in Niles.
Lincolnwood Library Solidarity Update
The community came together at the latest Lincolnwood Library board meeting to say NO to book bans and anti-LGBTQIA+ bigotry. Niles Coalition organizers showed up and stood together in unity at the podium for a public comment. Organizer Pam Wolff said:
“When you ban or hide or move a book or an activity for LGBTQIA content, you are sending a message to our community that LGBTQIA people don’t matter, aren’t wanted, don’t belong. And when you call us controversial, you send the message that we are lesser, not valued, inhuman.”
You can see the whole video of the meeting here and read more from Caroline Kubzansky at the Chicago Tribune. Stay tuned to Library Defense who organized the response and of course we will report back any updates as well.
Anti-Black Racism at D219
Even after the student-led protest last February, Niles West & Niles North High Schools still have yet to reckon with anti-Black racism in schools. The Black Student Union mobilized an action at the recent D219 school board meeting to raise awareness. They brought two simple proposals to the D219 school board. The first is better recruitment and retention of Black staff. The second is anti-racism training for all students and staff. Several Black students gave testimony to their personal experiences with racism. Supportive students, parents, and community members packed the board room bearing witness to the powerful comments. Enough is enough, it’s time to listen to Black students!
Read more from Sophia Lannoye at Niles West News.
CAMPAIGN UPDATE: #SAVENILESLIBRARY
Our local senators and representatives worked to get legislation amended and sent to the governor for his signature. This will ensure that the Secretary of State’s office can finally appoint a qualified 7th trustee to our stymied Niles-Maine District library board. After the Governor signs the bill, Umair Qadeer will be appointed.
Meanwhile, the campaign for the April 2023 election has begun. The Reclaim Our Library slate of pro-library candidates includes Becky Keane, Umair Qadeer, Jason Trunco, and Roberto Botello.
The Save Niles-Maine District Library PAC has asked us to share these steps you can take now to support pro-library candidates:
- Go to savenileslibrary.org and click on “Get Involved” to volunteer for things like putting up a yard sign or canvassing.
- Every donation, even a few dollars, makes a difference. If you can, please click on “Donate,” to support signs, events, and flyers for the campaign.
- “Like” the Facebook page for the PAC and encourage your friends to like the page by sharing to your personal Facebook feed.
In our area there are several local food pantries, including through Niles Township and Maine Township. There’s also a small pantry right in the vestibule of the Niles-Maine District Library, so when you’re packing up your library materials to return to the library you can also bring non-perishable foods to easily donate!
Attacks on LBGTQIA+ people across Illinois continue to rise due to right-wing agitation. Locally we see this at the Lincolnwood Library, and on our very streets in Niles. We’ve received several alarming reports of pride display vandalism. This harassment has no place in our community and we are discussing solutions. LBGTQIA+ people deserve to feel safe and proud here in Niles, let’s make that happen! Please reach out with any ideas, input, and additional reports.
Niles is Under BigData Surveillance
Niles is allowing the installation of “automatic license plate reader” (ALPR) surveillance cameras around Niles. These cameras are owned by billionaire-backed private capital and are problematic in so many ways. To learn more, we are co-hosting an ALPR 101 educational webinar event with experts in this technology.
- V Thompkins of Black Nashville Assembly
- Cinthya Rodriguez of Mijente
- José of Electronic Frontier Foundation
Please register at this link and bring your questions to this informative event!! <bit.ly/alpr101>
Thanks for joining the struggle. Together we can build the community we all deserve.