Hello friends, it’s time once again for our monthly newsletter we call the DISPATCH! Here are quick snippets of some of what’s going down around our community.
D219 Black Student Union Support
On January 10th, anti-racist orgs, parents, and other community members packed the Niles West/North D219 school board room to implore the board to heed the voices of the Black Student Union. These were the demands:
- Mandatory hate speech training for all staff in the district, so they know how to prevent and respond to hate speech incidents, so they can start healthy conversations, and so they stop reading and using slurs in the classrooms. Students would be part of the training.
- A mandatory hate speech unit or course for freshmen where students learn the etymology of harmful language.
- Address the problem of racial discrimination exercised by security and lunch staff or not adequately addressed by security and lunch staff.
- A concrete plan for recruiting Black staff.
- A concrete plan for retaining Black staff.
- The addition of a second equity officer so that one can be dedicated to supporting staff and the other can focus on student support.
- Ensure Black history is taught throughout the year and goes beyond slavery or well known civil rights heroes.
Video of that meeting can be viewed here with reporting by The Daily Northwestern: Niles parents protest anti-Black racism at D219 meeting. Change is long overdue and there is no excuse for this to be such an issue still!
Public Speaking Workshop
The Niles Coalition is proud to present a Public Speaking Workshop! This is a two-hour interactive class to help you be a better public speaker. Whether it is for public comments, meetings (hint, hint), presentations, interviews, etc. Together we will discuss and practice various tips and techniques to help you clearly and concisely get your message across. All are welcome. We look forward to seeing you there!
Date: Saturday February 4th, 2023
Location: Niles-Maine District Library
6960 W Oakton St, Niles, IL 60714
Meeting Room A
Presenter: Pam Wolff – Pam is a Niles community member and an organizer in the Niles Coalition. She has decades of experience in performing and speaking before audiences and is excited to be able to teach this class.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2023
Yesterday was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. After an extensive campaign of surveillance and harassment by the US government, they finally assassinated Dr. King at the age of 39. That assassination continues to this day as many people who oppose his views now try to co-opt them posthumously. Dr. King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail (video) is a particularly important tool for fighting racism and is as relevant now as the day he wrote it.
CAMPAIGN UPDATE: #SAVENILESLIBRARY
The Niles Coalition has repeatedly made these demands of the Niles-Maine District Library board.
- Swear in Umair Qadeer
- End the malicious hiring freeze
- Expedite a contract with the Niles-Maine District Library AFSCME31 union
- Trustees Drblik, Schoenfeldt, and Makula must resign immediately
Well we’re happy to report that Umair Qadeer was finally sworn in and that enabled the board to finally set about ending the hiring freeze. Board President Carolyn Drblick along with her cronies Suzanne Schoenfeldt & Joe Makula tried every underhanded trick in the book to stop them but they were easily outmaneuvered and THE HIRING FREEZE IS GONE!
Joe Makula also lost his lawsuit trying to remove another trustee from the board. Read about that here: Judge rejects Niles Library trustee’s legal attempt to unseat another trustee: ‘Brought shame to our board and library’
Now it’s time to support our library’s staff who toiled under this hostile regime for so long, and get our library back!
In the past two years we have learned a lot through engaging in social justice issues in Niles. We have a number of projects on the backburner as we try to build up our capacity. Some things we’re looking at currently are:
- LGBTQIA+ pride efforts
- anti-Black racism
- worker oppression in the Village of Niles
- youth criminalization
- police and big data surveillance
- economic injustice through TIFs
Thanks for staying with us because us is all we have.