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[EMAIL] In It To Win It

A blue painted brick wall with the words In It To Win It overlaid.

Hello dear community,

We are delighted to announce some major progress as a result of our relentless organizing efforts for change.

Our #SaveNilesLibrary campaign has just hit a major milestone that shifts the balance of power. And it’s all because of YOU! Our petition to ask State Librarian Jesse White to appoint a qualified Niles-Maine District Library board trustee was delivered! It was a great success that gathered more than five hundred signatures and many wonderful personal messages from supporters. The community made it clear that we wanted a qualified candidate and because of this…

The Illinois Secretary of State appointed Umair Qadeer to the Niles-Maine District Library board!

All year we have been pleading with Library Board President Carolyn Drblik to appoint a qualified candidate to the seat Olivia Hanusiak abandoned. When it was apparent the president was ignoring the community we got busy appealing to higher governing bodies and they listened!

Umair Qadeer was previously a Niles-Maine District Library board trustee but resigned due to an overlooked technicality regarding residency. Now that it’s no longer an issue we’re happy to see him continue serving as an advocate of the library (as one would expect any trustee to be). He will also be the only member of the board from the unincorporated Maine Township part of the library district and the only South Asian American on the board.

The swearing-in for this appointment is happening at the September 21st meeting just days before the upcoming budget hearing! Community members have continued to come out and make public comments; if you’re able to make it to the meeting it’s at 6:30pm, or if you’re unable to attend and would like to have your comment read at the meeting you can email us at coalition@nilescoalition.org .

Join us for the #SaveNilesLibrary Budget Hearing Rally

We’re organizing a rally for Monday September 26 just before the budget hearing. Now that we have a majority of pro-library trustees willing to listen to the needs of the community please help us solidify a major win for our library so we can end the cruel hiring freeze and secure much-needed programs and hours of operation that our community deserves! Details here.


New Niles Community Relations Commission

Congrats and welcome to the new commissioners appointed to the Community Relations Commission! It’s now finally official as the first meeting of this expanded commission happened last week September 14th. This is the mission:

“The purpose of the Community Relations Commission shall be to foster and promote understanding, mutual respect, cooperation and positive relations between and among all residents of the Village of Niles regardless of race, color, sexual orientation, religion, gender, age, disability, national origin or ancestry to the end that a sense of shared community among residents is strengthened, the value of each individual is affirmed and the constitutional rights of all are realized. The commission shall promote adequate housing for all the community’s people, to create and/or maintain sound viable neighborhoods, to meet the needs for housing and to expand housing opportunities for all members of the community. The Commission will also assist in the development of public information and related communication programs to enhance the quality of life for all village residents.”

The Niles Coalition mobilized to raise concerns about Commissioner Carolyn Drblik’s participation in the attack on our Niles-Maine District Library. Clearly a conflict of interest in community relations. Thankfully, Carolyn Drblik is no longer a commissioner. We hope this new commission steps in to help make things right but it will still require engagement from our community. We’re following along and we hope you do too!


#NotInMyTown Update

We have still not heard back from the Park Ridge city council regarding our pleas for healing in the community. Chicago Police Sergeant Michael Vitellaro was recently charged with two felony counts but we know the history of such approaches to community healing will not be sufficient. We are considering a coalition effort around this issue as we speak to more and more community stakeholders. Stay tuned!


Skokie Alliance for Electoral Reform

In April we endorsed the Skokie Alliance for Electoral Reform and they were just getting started to collect signatures. Their team of volunteers hit the streets all summer and successfully collected a whopping 12,000 signatures to get the referendums on the November 8th ballot. CONGRATULATIONS! The work isn’t over yet, now they have to get out the vote and continue the campaign to educate the community about why all three referendums are so important for democracy in Skokie. If you would like to volunteer in solidarity they would be happy to have you. Join them for the upcoming town hall event!


Library Solidarity

Libraries around the country have been under attack. Locally, an attempt at book-banning in Park Ridge this spring was shut down by the community. Recently the Downers Grove library was targeted for hosting a drag queen bingo event. Close to home in Lincolnwood this week we joined local commenters in support of the LGBTQIA+ community and the library to counter a book-banning attempt (during national Banned Books Week no less). It turns out to #SaveNilesLibrary we’re going to have to save them all!

Whew, thanks for reading, and thanks for your messages of support. We’re glad you’re here with us. Please reach out if you have any questions about Niles Coalition. See you at the library!



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[EMAIL] We Got Us


Dear Community,

#NotInMyTown Orange Ribbons

In our previous email we expressed our solidarity with Park Ridge youth. A Chicago cop attacked a 14 year old and walked away free and uncharged. To this day, 6 weeks later, the community is still left wondering what police actually do if not the most basic act of protection.

It was the brave acts of bystanders who saved this victim from further brutality and it’s become clear that “we must protect us.” Historically marginalized groups have been building systems of mutual aid to protect themselves when the authorities would not. We need to start learning from these traditions to build a society that works for everyone, not just the privileged few.

To keep up with the campaign follow the #NotInMyTown campaign website and consider showing solidarity by putting up orange ribbons in your neighborhood. We’ll certainly keep an eye on this situation and report back any updates.

Several trees with orange ribbons attached.


Labor History Event at Niles-Maine District Library

Momentum is building across the country. Workers are demanding better pay and working conditions, and are forming unions to foment these rights. In the Niles-Maine library district our library staff are standing up to defend their rights while under constant assault.

Join us in solidarity with the Niles-Maine District Library Employees Union at this talk where we’ll all learn more about historical events and people who made the labor movement strong. Together we can use their inspiring vision to continue improving our community.

The Story of America Through the Lens of Labor History

Thursday, September 1, 6-8pm

Niles-Maine District Library Commons Meeting Room A&B

6960 W. Oakton Street, Niles, IL

A flier for the labor history event at Niles-Maine District Library



Niles-Maine Library Workers Letter to Editor

Earlier this month, unionized workers at the Niles-Maine District Library sent a dire letter to the editor of the Journal & Topics newspaper. They spoke of how the lack of staff has been decimating the capacity of the library. The callousness of Board President Carolyn Drblik and trustees Schoenfeldt, and Makula are taking their toll. They ask:

“Is their ultimate goal to close the library?”

A letter to the editor from the Niles-Maine District Library union published in Journal & Topics

If you don’t have subscriptions to local newspapers, Niles-Maine District Library cardholders can read electronic versions of our local newspapers for free with a library card number using the links toward the bottom of this page: https://www.nileslibrary.org/borrow/digital-library/#magazines


Secretary of State Appointment – get ready for action

Remember that letter-writing campaign you helped with last year? Well it’s partly because of our collective action that new legislation was passed to allow intervention by the State Librarian. This allows an appointment to fill a vacancy if a library board refuses to do so for more than 90 days. Library board president Carolyn Drblik has allowed a board seat to remain empty for more than 300 days! The board hasn’t been properly representing the community for nearly a year and it’s Carolyn Drblik’s responsibility to make sure the board is operating appropriately. This will only be a Band-Aid on the larger problem that allowed this to happen, but we will continue utilizing every avenue for justice.

Library Board Meeting

The next Niles-Maine District Library board meeting is TODAY Wednesday 8/17 at 6:30 pm, and a discussion and vote on the tentative budget is on the agenda. Community members who are able to do so have been coming out to make public comments, we hope to see you there, or if you aren’t able to attend you can email the board at trustees@nileslibrary.org and if you’d like help getting your comment read at the meeting email us at coalition@nilescoalition.org

Please continue to reach out to us with your ideas, and keep sharing information about local efforts so we can support the work folks are doing to create the community that we strive for.

Thanks for reading!


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[EMAIL] Act Local

When looking for ways that we can make the change we want to see, it’s important to think local. When we see bad news at a national or global scale, it’s easy to feel like there’s nothing we can do or the problems are too big to take on. But at the local level, even a few people can have a big impact. Local elections are decided by just a handful of votes, politicians are moved by a handful of letters, and we can change minds by talking to our neighbors. By planting the seeds of a better world in our own community, we build momentum for the changes we want to see. Local change is the path to building national power.


#SaveNilesLibrary

July began the new fiscal year for the Niles-Maine District Library, and the discussions of budgets are ongoing. In 2021 newly elected library board members and Board President Drblik proposed and passed drastic budget cuts, and for 2022-2023 Joe Makula’s error-ridden proposed budget would cut another 14% from a library already spread thin. Throughout this year’s budget discussions the library management, staff, and executive director have pleaded for increased staffing. Currently the library is working under a year-long hiring freeze and has lost over 30% of the trained staff. Makula, Schoenfeldt, and Drblik want to make this level of understaffing permanent, by cutting the open positions out of the budget. Trustees Keane, Olsen, and Rozanski proposed an alternate budget, with sufficient funds for hiring needed staff, a well-deserved cost of living increase for current staff, and restoring program and book budgets. The difference between the proposed budgets is only about $17 per resident, but the impact on the programming and services available to the community would be significant. Still, Makula and his cohorts are not willing to budge.

There is another meeting this Wednesday– Niles-Maine District Library Board Meeting – 6:30 PM July 20, 2022, 6960 Oakton Street. If you are able to make a public comment this is an opportunity to show support and help defend our community’s valuable resource and hardworking library staff against these draconian budget cuts.


Community Relations Commission

For months, community members sent letters and made public comments requesting that commissioner Carolyn Drblik be held accountable for the harm she has done in her role as President of the Niles-Maine District Library board of trustees. She refused to respond and was finally removed from the Village of Niles’ Community Relations Commission. While new commissioners have been named, it’s mid-July and there has still not been a single meeting of the Community Relations Commission in 2022, despite the requirement that they meet at least once quarterly. We’ve also still never been able to engage with this commission regarding the Village’s response to antisemitic propaganda that was distributed throughout the community. An organizer asked questions on behalf of residents we’ve been hearing from, wanting to know about Village policies on how employees should respond to acts of hate, and whether Village staff and elected officials receive training to help them identify acts of hate and discrimination. The Village Manager asked that she make FOIA requests instead. We are watching to see if the Community Relations Commission will begin following through on their stated mission and do the work that commissioners and Village staff can do to make this community more welcoming and just for all.


Neighbors United Against Hate

A Neighbors United Against Hate campaign page has been added to our website, so you can easily download and print window signs for your and your neighbors’ homes and businesses https://www.nilescoalition.org/neighbors-united-against-hate/


Solidarity with the youth of Park Ridge

On July 1st an off-duty Chicago Police Sergeant pushed his knee into a Park Ridge teen’s back to hold him down. A Niles Coalition organizer delivered a statement to the City Council at their July 5th meeting, expressing our solidarity with the youth of Park Ridge and listing three recommendations:

  1. Create a task force led by experts in prosocial transformative justice to help the community heal from this traumatic event while addressing the victims of this violence and the person who caused it.

  2. Shift funds towards a systemic solution as recommended by this transformative justice task force.

  3. Commend the brave bystanders who intervened. Encourage this behavior by making available bystander intervention training available for everybody in Park Ridge.


Please continue to reach out to us with your ideas, and keep sharing information about local efforts so we can support the work folks are doing to create the community that we strive for.

Thanks for reading!



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[EMAIL] Getting Uncomfortable


We’ve been busy and can’t wait to tell you all about what we’ve been up to!

Neighbors United Against Hate Rally

Our rally against hate with Action Ridge was a huge success! On Sunday May 15 we welcomed a crowd of supporters ready to take back the streets against hateful acts in our coalition-wide community. Speakers included Nan Parsons, Elizabeth Lynch, Kim Schaefer, Jill Manrique, Cook County Commissioner Scott Britton, and State Senator Ram Villivalam.

We took a pledge against hate and marched throughout the neighborhood chanting as we went along. You can watch the whole video on Niles Coalition’s Youtube channel: Neighbors United Against Hate Rally May 2022 and read press coverage at Journal & Topics. Big thanks to everybody who came out and committed to combating hate in all its forms.

Support for Arab & Palestinian People

One of the organizers for the Neighbors Against Hate Rally was Niles West District 219 school board trustee Jill Manrique. She even addressed the crowd at the rally. In her speech she encouraged people to show up and “get uncomfortable in big ways and in small ways”. Jill walks the talk because a week later she attended the Niles West graduation wearing a kuffiyeh in support of the oppressed people of Palestine.

As a result she was viciously defamed by hateful racists. The US Palestinian Community Network invited us to join them in solidarity with Jill Manrique in support of the Arab and Palestinian community at the next D219 board meeting. We were honored to show up and put our pledge into action. But we weren’t the only ones. What we witnessed that evening was an amazing organic show of solidarity and support. The public comment period was packed full of comments in support of Jill’s brave action and a strong message was sent that hate has no home in Niles West or anywhere in our community!

You can see the press conference here:

USPCN June 9 presser in defense of Jill Manrique & Palestinian students in IL school district 219

and the public comments here:

NTHS District 219 Board of Education Meeting


Community Relations Commission

The Village of Niles Community Relations Commission has been expanded and is accepting applications. The deadline has been extended to June 15 so people have a few more days to apply! ACT FAST! Here is a link to the application.

#SaveNilesLibrary

In April’s newsletter we told you about the school lunch program for children that was unable to continue this year due to lack of staff at the Niles-Maine District Library. After months of us raising awareness of this travesty, the library put the squeeze on staff to make it happen. Of course they didn’t end their contrived and brutal “hiring freeze” to help, they just added stress to the staff while cutting other programs. Our library deserves to be full funded and Carolyn Drblik, Suzanne Schoenfeldt, and Joe Makula need to END THE HIRING FREEZE NOW!

Niles-Maine District Library Board Meeting – June 15 2022

It’s budget time again at the library and Trustee Makula is on his usual cruel tear to slash the budget until it bleeds. On the chopping block is the Teen Underground that is specifically tailored to the needs of teens by our expert librarians. Joe Makula is *not* a librarian but can’t help himself imposing his whims on the library we built over the course of generations in our community. Please come out to the board meeting Wednesday and speak out against these drastic cuts.

Niles-Maine District Library Regular Board Meeting

June 15, 2022 6:30 PM

Niles-Maine District Library – Commons Meeting Room

6960 Oakton St. Niles, IL 60714

Spreading Awareness

Our #SaveNilesLibrary campaign organizers and allies continue to show up and leaflet at the library to make sure all patrons know about this continuing attack on our library. We’re dedicated to our goal of saving the library so future generations can have this crucial resource available.

Leafletting at the Niles-Maine District LibraryThanks for reading!

Niles Coalition logo

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[EMAIL] United

Niles Coalition has celebrated the 1 year anniversary of our founding. It was the attack on our Niles-Maine District Library that acted as the inciting incident bringing us together to create the #SaveNileslIbrary campaign. More and more community members have been reaching out and folks have been connecting with our organizers at local events. We’ve been meeting up with our neighbors in Niles, Skokie, Park Ridge, Glenview, and more! Please read below and find out about some recent events we’ve attended as well as upcoming opportunities for you to join us!

In April we endorsed Skokie Alliance for Electoral Reform and connected with others at their kickoff event: Make Every Vote Matter!

On April 24th along with allies from Action Ridge, Niles Coalition organizers helped greet attendees at the first of a series of Cook County United Against Hate events. About 200 community members and elected officials showed up and shared messages about our opposition to hate and antisemitism.

➡️ Join us on Sunday May 15th as we unite with our neighbors from Niles, Park Ridge, Skokie, Glenview, Chicago and the surrounding area at our Neighbors United Against Hate event at Jonquil Terrace Park in Niles.

#SaveNilesLibrary

On April 20th many of our organizers, unionized library staff members, and other supporters showed up with signs and leaflets to raise awareness of the unnecessary and destructive hiring freeze that anti-library trustees instituted last May and have refused to lift. Niles-Maine District Library’s staff keep providing services that our community wants and needs, and we’ll keep showing up for them and doing what we can to get the word out about the reckless cuts Trustees Carolyn Drblik, Suzanne Schoenfeldt, and Joe Makula have forced on all of us. Please help us spread awareness by sharing savenileslibrary.org with your friends and neighbors.

There are TWO MORE Library Board Meetings you can participate in this month, on Wednesday 5/18, and Tuesday, 5/31, both start at 6:30 PM at 6960 W. Oakton Street in Niles. Public comments are only allowed in person shortly after 6:30, so if you are unable to attend in person at that time and want your message heard please respond to this email, or send your message to <email@nilescoalition.org>. If you can please arrive early and join us outside the library to show solidarity and share information with the public.

Reminder about the June election June 28th is election day this year. The spring primary was moved to June, please make a plan to vote by mail or in person and mark your calendars now! Here’s a page where we’ve collected links and information.
Thanks for reading, see you in the streets!

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[EMAIL] Coalition Building in Niles and Beyond


Hello friends, the weather is warming up and we are getting out! Looking forward to seeing more of everybody this spring and summer!

Anti-Hate Actions

You might remember that back in February a number of racist hate incidents happened in our community. The initial response from the Village was nonexistent which was very disappointing but a reminder that we will have to look out for us. In crafting a response we have partnered up with Action Ridge and a coalition effort with 14th District Cook County Commissioner Scott Britton, and the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Commissioner Britton introduced a Resolution Against the Rise in Anti-Semitism and in Support of Cook County’s Jewish Population which was unanimously passed by the Cook County Board. We also have plans for a continuing local effort including an event in May. Stay tuned for those details. Reach out if you would like to help!

Community Move About Event

Our first official event of 2022, our Community Move About during National Library Week, was a great success! We had three speakers and a ~2mi walk through neighborhoods near the library. Community members were able to meet and talk with each other along the way, including several Niles Coalition organizers, members of other local groups like Bike Walk Niles, Go Green Niles, Action Ridge, as well as candidates for the upcoming state- and county-level primaries (the primary got moved to June this year) including Michael Rabbit running for State Representative of the 15th District. Hot topics attendees were chatting about include the hiring freeze that’s choking our library and the loss of the Free Summer Meals Program. You can read more about this in the Chicago Tribune. Be on the lookout for more events like these in the future!

Skokie Alliance for Electoral Reform

There’s a new effort in Skokie aimed to “revitalize democracy and promote inclusive civic engagement”. That sounds fantastic and it’s something we’re endorsing. We could use some of that magic in Niles for sure. They have a kickoff event on Tuesday April 19th (tonight!), see you there!

Niles Community Relations Commission

Appointments for the Community Relations Commission are next month in May. To be on the list please be sure to apply by sending in this form. You can also BCC us on the email to leave a paper trail for accountability. Not familiar with the Community Relations Commission? Read more here. We’ve been working with Mayor Alpogianis on reforming the Community Relations Commission so it can fulfill its mission to improve community relations.

#SaveNilesLibrary

Emily For President!

An ally in our fight to #SaveNilesLibrary is now the president-elect of the American Library Association! Emily Drabinski reached out to us early in our efforts to protect the Niles-Maine District Library to understand how libraries like ours are threatened throughout the country. We’re thrilled by her win and look forward to the growing support for libraries and workers.

No More Food For Children

The Niles-Maine District library was a site for the federally-funded Free Summer Meals Program for several years. This year they don’t have the staff to maintain this program so youth in our community will have less access to nutritious meals for children during the summer school break. This is the result of Carolyn Drblik, Suzanne Schoenfeldt, and Joe Makula decimating our library staff.

⚠️ ACTION ITEM: Board Meeting Wednesday

April 20 at 6:30pm is the next Niles-Maine District Library board meeting. We’re asking people to come out to pressure trustees Carolyn Drblik, Suzanne Schoenfeldt and Joe Makula to end their hiring freeze. The library continues to struggle for lack of staff to provide for a library experience our community deserves. This chaos is intentional and we must show up and resist before it’s too late! Agenda is posted here.

Thanks for reading, see you in the streets!



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[EMAIL] Niles Transparency


The people of Niles deserve transparency. We know an open government strengthens democracy and builds trust. Unfortunately, in Niles, actions and decisions that affect our Village government occur behind closed doors. Most residents remain unaware of these actions, but we all pay the price.

We showed up at the February Village of Niles board meeting to implore the board to “improve its appointment process for the various committees to engage a diverse slate of applicants” and we are serious about this. We had front-row seats to how the Community Relations Commission has failed us all. We insist that the Village of Niles fulfill its most basic responsibilities to our community by making sure all people are being represented. We can’t fall back on the ways we’ve been doing things. We need a new intentional effort to fill these committees.

Here is a list of the various committees, commissions, and boards that residents of Niles can apply to volunteer on: Village of Niles Boards, Committees & Commissions. The application form for all of these can be found here: Village of Niles Committee Interest Form.

At the May meeting of the Village of Niles Board of Trustees the trustees will vote on appointments that the Mayor will propose, so now is the time to submit your application if you are interested in participating in one of these commissions/committees/boards.

White supremacist attacks on our community

Recently, white supremacy has flared up in our community. Just like the attack on our library, this one speaks to a deeper issue. Contending with this latest act of terror will require us to come together in community. The Niles Coalition is reaching out to local stakeholders to collaborate on an anti-hate campaign. If people polluting our community with white supremecist bigotry is something that irks you, we hope that you will join us to fight back. Please reach out here: https://www.nilescoalition.org/sign_up/

#SaveNilesLibrary Campaign Update

Library Board meetings are now an exercise in resistance. There are many casualties from the anti-library campaign waged by local right-wing raiders. However, our coalition of concerned community members have stayed the course and support current and former library staff who are concerned about the actions of reckless board members. Here’s what former Assistant Director and Business and Operations Manager, Greg Pritz, who resigned at the end of 2021, had to say: “If enough people believe these misleading statements, the Niles-Maine District Library will never be able to dig itself out of the financial hole that Carolyn Drblik, Suzanne Schoenfeldt, and Joe Makula are digging for it.”

Pritz couldn’t remain silent about the Board of Trustees activities and warned us in a Letter to the Editor printed in the Tribune on February 28, 2022. Read it here: Don’t be fooled by grossly inaccurate statements about Niles Library’s funding.

The next board meeting is this Wednesday at 6:30. Join us to bear witness and grind these gears of injustice to a halt! Be sure to meet one of our friendly organizers!

Also BTW National Library Week is April 3-9 this year, and we’re organizing a ride/walk/roll/stroll that will start at the Niles-Maine District Library in the afternoon on Saturday, April 9th. We’ll share the time, route, and other details soon.

Niles Youth Community

The voices of the youth are often ignored so it is crucial to not only listen but follow their lead on issues that affect them most. We showed up for the students of Niles West and we will continue to do so. The racist attack by anti-facemaskers is just the latest incident that got media attention due to the student rally. We have so much more work to do in our schools. Our Niles Youth Community caucus is a crucial part of coalition building. If you or young people you know are interested in organizing in Niles, please reach out at <nilesyouthcommunity@nilescoalition.org>.

Thanks for sticking with us!

-Niles Coalition

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White Supremacy in Niles

The Niles Coalition was founded to foster social justice in our community. The use of racial slurs[1] in our schools and the distribution of antisemitic flyers[2] in our neighborhoods are just the latest acts of white supremacy that have no place in Niles. While these acts have done immediate harm to our family, friends, and neighbors that deserve immediate care, we also want to recognize the long-term work it will take to build the loving community we all deserve.

If you have recently received one of the antisemitic flyers, or experienced other forms of targeted bigotry please report this to the Village of Niles at 847.588.8000 or communityrelations@vniles.com (and CC us at coalition@nilescoalition.org so we can ensure that the Village responds appropriately to these matters). In the coming days and weeks we’ll be sharing more information and resources. We welcome all community members to join us at nilescoalition.org.


[1]Protesters Denounce Hate Speech and Racism at West, The Niles West News by Emma Schieffer and Ella Lindemann

[2]Antisemitic flyers found on driveways, lawns in Park Ridge and Niles, Chicago Tribune by Jennifer Johnson


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[EMAIL] Love Means Action

Love Means Action

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.

Denounce racist attacks at Niles West

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

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 <nilesyouthcommunity@nilescoalition.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 <coalition@nilescoalition.org> 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 <coalition@nilescoalition.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!


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[EMAIL] Voicing Truth!

Greetings friends,

In our last email Silencing Dissent, we spoke not only about the lack of representation in our governing bodies but the direct suppression of speech. We’re taking action to make civic engagement available to all.

Community Relations Commission

After months of public comments voiced in their meetings and complaints sent to the Community Relations Commision (CRC) went ignored, we wrote a letter directly to the mayor and board of trustees. We believe Commissioner Carolyn Drblik is not fit to the purpose of the CRC and she needs to take accountability for her actions. Stepping down from the Niles-Maine District Library board would be a good first step. We are asking the CRC to step in to repair the harm this attack on our library has inflicted upon our community.

#SaveNilesLibrary Campaign Update

Public Comment Censorship

Spurred by our complaints regarding Carolyn Drblik’s public comment censorship policy, the Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor started investigating this under the Open Meetings Act. We also brought this to the attention of the Citizen Advocacy Center who made a public comment urging to rescind policy 3.27. We made a short video to raise awareness of this ongoing affront to our community.

Trustee Vacancy Still Vacant

Library Board Secretary Suzanne Schoenfeldt failed in her duty to report the vacant board seat to the county clerk. Illinois State Library Director Greg McCormick sent a letter giving her 45 days to respond. She, Carolyn Drblik, and Joe Makula are failing to do their duty as trustees. The community deserves better representation and we deserve a fair process. Former Niles-Maine District Library Director Susan Dove Lempke made an excellent comment at the October board meeting regarding representation for the board vacancy.

January 2022 Niles-Maine District Library Board Public Meeting

Hey, that’s tonight, Wednesday, January 19th! Unfortunately they don’t allow remote participation anymore. You can tune in to the livestream here or show up in person at 6960 West Oakton St, Niles IL 60714. Niles Coalition #SaveNilesLibrary campaign organizers and allies have been making public comments at every. board. meeting. since these anti-library trustees seized control. We’re never going to stop voicing truth to power!