Archive for Violence

Step Up for Youth – Sun. Sept. 11

Step Up for Youth, a 10K/5K Race and Family Fun Walk along Evanston’s lakefront.  Proceeds benefit Dajae Coleman Foundation (, a non-profit, community-based organization that honors the legacy of Dajae Coleman, a 14 year old Evanston Township High School honors student who was shot and killed when he was only 14 years old.
Get more information and register at http://www.stepupforyouth and use the code FRIEND to get $5 off of the entry fee.  In addition, event sponsor Prairie Moon Restaurant is offering a free craft beer pint to the next 50 people who register online by Sunday, August 14 11:59 PM. Check the box on page 2 to receive a coupon at packet pickup.
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Fifth Ward Festival – Sat. Aug. 27

The Inaugural Fifth Ward Festival will be held on Saturday, August 27 from noon to 8 p.m. at Twiggs Park (Simpson St. and Bridge St.) Hosted for all of Evanston, the event provides residents living outside of the Fifth Ward an opportunity to experience and learn more about the area. A wide variety of booths by local organizations will address the need for jobs and job training, mental health care, voter registration and more, all of which contribute to empowerment and can help reduce gun violence. Police and firefighters will be on hand to share information about public service jobs and mingle with the community.

Performers: Kweku Collins, Manwolves, Chainsaw Dupont, Funkadesi and more.

For more information head to Dear Evanston’s Facebook page.

Fifth Ward

Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate – Sun. June 19

Now in its seventeenth year, the Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate was launched to honor the legacy of Ricky Byrdsong and bring attention to the need to combat hatred in all its forms.

Entrusted to YWCA Evanston/North Shore in 2006, the Race Against Hate is comprised of chip-timed 5K and 10K runs, a 5K walk and a fun youth mile. The event also features on-field refreshments, music and fun for the whole family. Add to that technical t-shirts in women’s and unisex cuts, great give-away bags, a fast, flat, and scenic race course along Lake Michigan and a great cause, and you have a positive community event you won’t want to miss!

Proceeds from the Race benefit the work of the YWCA Evanston/North Shore, especially in areas of violence prevention and racial equity.

Race registration is open now! Early registration ends April 1.
Online registration will close Tuesday, June 14 at 12pm. After that time, please plan on registering at a packet pick-up or on Race Day.

Date: Sunday, June 19
Time: First race begins at 7:30am
Location: Long Field at the corner of Sheridan Road and Lincoln Street in Evanston, Illinois

Event Schedule
10K run – 7:30am
5K walk/run – 7:45am
Youth Mile (8-13 year olds) – 9am
Youth 1/2 Mile (7 & under) – 9:15am
Awards presentation – 9:45am

Community Approaches to Gun Volence

Please join Peaceable Cities Alliance to End Violence for:

Community Approaches to Gun Violence

Join in conversation with:

  • Colleen Daley: Illinois Council against Handgun Violence
  • John Gruber: Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
  • Denyse Stoneback: People for a Safer Society
  • Moderated by Jessyca Dudley, the Joyce Foundation

Gun violence touches every corner of Evanston and our country, please come to discuss what we all can do to address this devastating problem.

Tuesday May 24th, 7:00-8:30pm
Gibbs-Morrison Cultural Center
1823 Church St, Evanston
All are welcome, light refreshments will be served

Making Evanston the Most Livable City – Sun. April 24

CGECitizens’ Greener Evanston (CGE) will be hosting an Earth Month celebration on Sunday, April 24, from 2:00-5:00 p.m. While CGE continues to work with the City to promote environmental sustainability, the event this year will focus on the economic and social justice components of sustainability — hence the theme: “Making Evanston the Most Livable City – For Everyone.”

The event will be highly interactive, with participants joining smaller groups to discuss the challenges, opportunities, and possible solutions and next steps related to three of the most pressing issues facing our community —
• Affordable Housing
• Gun Violence
• Economic Opportunity

Following these breakout sessions, each group will report back to the larger group and receive responses from Mayor Tisdahl.

The tone for the day will be set by the dynamic keynote speaker Veronica Kyle, whose organization, Faith in Place, is dedicated to bringing together people of diverse faiths to care for the earth through education, connection, and advocacy.

We hope you can join this Earth Month celebration and will invite your friends and neighbors

Sun, Apr 24, 2:00 PM – 5:00
Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center,1655 Foster St.

ESAPC Presentation on Substance Abuse and Gun Violence – Tues. Sept. 1

Please join the Evanston Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition in welcoming Roseanna Ander, MPH, the founding Executive Director of the University of Chicago Crime Lab and Education Lab and the Senior Director of UChicago Urban Labs, and Harold Pollack, PhD, Helen Ross Professor at the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration and Co-Director of the University of Chicago Crime Lab to discuss the interplay between substance abuse and gun violence and explore how our community can align efforts to improve youth outcomes. Presentation is open to the public.  1.5 free CEUs (LSW, LCSW) are offered for attendees.
  Tuesday, September 1, 2015
7:00-9:00pmLorraine H. Morton Civic Center
Parasol Room (4th Floor)
2100 Ridge Ave. Evanston, IL 60201For more information, contact:
Karen Finstad, Coalition Coordinator

Evanston Own It: Evanston Sings – Fri. June 19

To further the “Evanston Own It” proclamation which aims to reclaim communities from youth violence, the faith community will host “Evanston Sings” on Friday, June 19 beginning at 7 p.m. at Evanston Township High School. All proceeds from the 250-voice choir concert will be donated to the 2016 Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program. This event is a part of the Evanston Own It Proclamation.

To learn more about event details, please contact Pastor Zollie Webb at 847-733-9681.

Friday, June 19 at 7:00 PM
1600 Dodge Ave., Evanston, 60201

The Ripple Effect – Thurs. May 28

Attend the second and final performance of “THE RIPPLE EFFECT,” an original dramatic adaptation created by the Nichols Middle School Drama Department and the Neri Project, inspired by the novel “Yummy” by G. Neri. The free event will occur on Thursday, May 28, 7 p.m., at the Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center, 1655 Foster St., and is open to the public.

“Yummy” is a true story about the 11-year-old boy, Robert “Yummy” Sandifer, who shot and killed an innocent 14-year-old girl, Shevon, while trying to kill a rival gang member, which ultimately leads to his death. Yummy was later featured on the cover of Time magazine with the headline, “So young to kill, so young to die.” This year marks the 21st anniversary of his death and his challenging childhood that shook the nation.

“THE RIPPLE EFFECT” adaptation is told through the eyes of a fictional boy from the neighborhood that depicts Yummy as the killer and victim. With his father in jail, an abusive mother who often turns to drugs, and a family that is unable to provide a stable home environment, Yummy turned to the only group of people that ever showed him any interest – the Black Disciples Nation. The gang uses Yummy to commit crimes on their behalf and eventually plot his death after the shooting of Shevon to keep the gang’s secrets safe.

The 25-minute dramatic adaptation is sponsored by the Dajae Coleman Foundation and Evanston Citizen Police Academy Alumni Association.

For more information, please contact Loyce E. Spells II, Board Chair of PeaceAble Cities: Evanston, at 847-859-7843 or via email at

Curbing Youth Violence in Evanston – Thurs. April 23

Curbing Youth Violence-1



Youth Violence Book Reading, Theater and Discussions – July & August


Thought-Provoking Reading, Drama, and Discussion Presented by EPL and the Dajae Coleman Foundation

Evanston Public Libraryand the Dajae Coleman Foundation are set to make this summer a time of reflection, learning, and discussion about youth violence. We will jointly present four programs inspired by the book “How Long Will I Cry: Voices of Youth Violence,” described by journalist Rick Kogan as “a stunning, stay-with-you-forever new book,” and by Booklist Online as “a book everyone should read.”  “How Long Will I Cry” presents an oral history of Chicago youth violence through the heartbreaking and hopeful stories of real people in their own words.

The events are free and open to the public:

Two Community Book Readings will take place on Saturday, July 12 from 11 am to 1 pm, Heartwood Center, 1818 Dempster Street, and on Friday, July 25 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm, Sherman United Methodist Church, 2214 Ridge Ave. Members of the Dajae Coleman Foundation will read excerpts from “How Long Will I Cry?” and discuss youth violence.

On Saturday, August 9 at 3 pm, the Library’s Loft teen theater troupe presents a staged reading of “How Long Will I Cry?” In this dramatic adaptation of the book, the cast of ten teenagers bear witness to the lives of Chicagoans changed by street violence. The performance will be in the Main Library’s Community Meeting Room.

On Saturday, August 9 at 4:30 pm, all are invited to a conversation with Cobe Williams, Violence Interrupter with Cure Violence. Williams is featured in the acclaimed 2011 documentary, The Interrupters. Williams will discuss the Cure Violence approach to stopping the spread of violence. The program will be in the Main Library’s Community Meeting Room directly following the staged reading.

Free copies of the book “How Long Will I Cry?” are available at any of the following locations:

~ Evanston Public Library, 1703 Orrington Ave.

~ Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center, 1655 Foster St.

~ Church St. Barber Shop, 1905 Church St.

~ Ebony Barber Shop, 1702 Dodge Ave.

To reserve seats for the August events, go to or call the Loft at 847-448-8625.

Teen Theater Auditions @ The Loft – August 4

The beastAuditions for THE BEAST by Walter Dean Myers
August 4, 4 p.m., The Loft, Main Library

This fall, the Loft at the Evanston Public Library will produce a teen theatre production of THE BEAST by Walter Dean Myers in memory of Dajae Coleman.They ‘ll create meaningful, original black-box theatre sure to get our community talking.

They are looking for:

*14-18 year olds.

*Latin@ performers who speak fluent Spanish.

*A diverse cast including African-American, Indian-American, and Caucasian performers.

*Performers who can rehearse throughout August and September and perform on Saturday, September 14th.

*Performers who are game for a fast-paced, ensemble-driven atmosphere and willing to take risks.

Interested? To schedule your audition, please email Jarrett at or call the Loft at (847) 448-8625. Space is extremely limited.

NOTE: Copies of THE BEAST are available for check-out in the Loft. They have extra copies available, too, courtesy of the Dajae Coleman Foundation

2nd Annual Youth Citizen Police Academy – July 15-18

Evanston young people interested in law enforcement and criminal justice are invited to participate in the 2d Annual Youth Citizen Police Academy, a weeklong program scheduled for July 15-18.

Classes and discussions will take place each evening from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and is free to anyone who lives or works in Evanston.

Sponsored by the Evanston Police Department, only 25  spots are available. Applicants must be between 13 and 17 years of age.

The Academy is an educational and informative program that allows young people the opportunity to learn about the issues that affect law enforcement efforts in the city and how to develop a partnership with the police department.

It is not a “boot camp” for rebellious teens or youth who have behavioral issues, the EPD emphasizes.

An application form is available on the city’s website.

Prayer March and Anti-Gun Violence Rally – June 22

Carolyn Murray, mother of slain Justin Murray who was shot on Nov. 29, 2012, is organizing a Prayer March and Anti-Gun Violence Rally on June 22, 2013 in conjunction with Evanston youth. The entire Chicagoland community is invited to join the event.

The Prayer March will begin at 11:00 am in the parking lot of Faith Temple Church, located at 1932 Dewey Ave. in Evanston. The group will then march to the Evanston Township High School Football Field, located approximately 1 mile from Faith Temple Church, where the Rally will begin at 12:00 pm (noon).

Participants include families affected by gun violence, students and youth of all ages, anti-gun related organizations, political officials and clergy.  At the Rally, various non-profit organizations will hand out information to youth attendees for programs offered this summer.

The event will be almost entirely planned by Evanston youth concerned for their safety in our community.  Although the Prayer March/Rally revolves around the dire threat gun violence plays in our community, the event will be upbeat and motivational. Participants of all ages are encouraged to attend to show their support of our youth.  All non profit organizations are welcome to join the rally with representatives available to hand out information to youth about programs they support.

Carolyn Murray
Good Afternoon Community Leadership,
Contact: Carolyn Murray – Media Relations
Phone:  (847) 338-0721 email:

Violence Prevention Community Forum – Thurs. March 28

The City of Evanston is presenting a Violence Prevention Community Forum featuring Tio Hardiman, Executive Director of CeaseFire Illinois, from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 28, 2013. It will be held at Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center, 1655 Foster Street. The public is invited to attend.

Tio Hardiman has dedicated his life and career to community organizing for peace and social change. This forum is a follow-up presentation that Mr. Hardiman and CeaseFire Illinois representatives gave at Evanston Township High School on February 27.

From 6:30 to 7:00 p.m., residents are invited to browse resource tables; the program will begin at 7:00 p.m. Topics will include: what was learned at the ETHS presentation; an overview of CeaseFire violence prevention model; whether Evanston is on the right track or not; and effective best practice community strategies to reduce violence, which include block clubs, neighborhood watches, outreach and mentoring.

Admission is free and light refreshments will be served. Limited parking will be available in the following lots: Fleetwood-Jourdain Center, Faith Temple (west parking lot only) and Family Focus.

The event will be hosted by Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl. Sponsors are the City of Evanston, Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin and Peaceable Cities.

For more information, please call 847/448-8042.

Local Musician Forms “Peace Choir”

From local composer, musician and music teacher Mike O’Mara:

I have written an a cappella piece responding to the local tragedies of this past year, and thanks to the very sad but inspiring words and thoughts of the families of the Newtown, CT. shooting I have just about finished another choral work as a response to the events of last week.

I would like to assemble a local choir with the purposes of rehearsing, recording and releasing these two pieces digitally. The main purpose in doing so would be a.) to bring members, especially youth/teens of our local area communities together in a show of solidarity across economic/social/ethnic lines and in praise of peace and secondarily b.) to show our support for all victims and families affected by violence.

I would also like to invite all local teen composers who would like to help in this endeavor to also submit their own ideas/songs – I would love to work with them to help flesh out their material as well to have the choir sing.

Here is a schedule for beginning our rehearsal this winter/early spring:

  • Saturday, Jan. 26: 4-5:30 P.M.
  • Saturday, Feb. 2: 4-5:30 P.M.
  • Sunday, Feb. 10: 3-4:30 P.M.

After the above rehearsals, we should have our group set, and can plan further touch-up rehearsals as necessary from there.

Rehearsal location will depend on the interest level I receive from community members. I have space available for the rehearsals above at 2008 Dempster St. in Evanston, but I can find a larger facility if need be!

If you are interested in being a part of this process, please feel free to contact me at mrmikeomara[at]

You do NOT need to be a trained singer to take part; ‘karaoke’-style part files will be made available to those who need them for practice in-between rehearsals. Kids, teens, AND adults are all welcome – it can be a family affair if you want it to be!

Vocal parts for the pieces I’ve written are available here:

As long as credit is given for their authorship, I give complete and free reign to anyone to download and spread them around. Anyone who wishes to share them and information about these upcoming rehearsals is welcomed to do so; I only ask that interested parties who are anticipating showing up for rehearsal contact me via e-mail so that I know how many chairs and copies of music to have available!

Finally – if you are a composer/arranger – especially if you are a local young composer (teen/young adult) who would like to contribute your own work to our proceedings, I would love to hear from you and work with you to make that a reality! Let me know.

Thank you all again. I know that it is a little thing, and doesn’t ‘fix’ anything – but music is what I know, and if community music-making can help to ease some suffering, lift some hearts and open some minds… then it’s worth doing.

All my best,
– Mike, mrmikeomara[at]