February 22, 2017
Some people reading this week's commentary may feel that talking about a local non-partisan controversy involving our High School, has no place in a newsletter representing the New Trier Democratic Organization. Before writing this piece, I did think about that.
I concluded that this is, in fact, exactly the kind of subject that periodically should be discussed here. The history of our Democratic party has included a shameful past involving racism. Back before the Civil War and into modern times, the Democrats maintained an uneasy and hypocritical alliance between northern legislators representing laborers and southern legislators dedicated to preserving Jim Crow laws.
Thankfully, that alliance ended with the civil rights initiatives of the Kennedy/Johnson Administrations. Since then, the times have definitely changed. But anyone who thinks that racism is no longer woven into the fabric of our society (north, south, urban, rural) is deluding themselves. Just ask any person of color that you know and see what they say.
That is the whole point of New Trier's Seminar Day. The subtle presence of racism in so many areas of American life needs to be more clearly recognized and understood by all of us. Seeking such insight is not the same as seeking political or ideological answers. It's simply recognizing that the more you understand about such things, the wiser your future choices will be - not just in politics, but in life.
On Monday night, a school board meeting at New Trier High School presented a beautiful example of community engagement in a democratic society. More than 700 New Trie
r residents filled the auditorium, many latecomers were turned away at the door. The "issue" that drew so many interested citizens had to do with a NTHS Seminar Day.
By now, most of you have probably read details on how New Trier organized the full school day event. Here's what was reported in the press: "
Students at the Winnetka and Northfield campuses will hear from a keynote speaker at the Feb. 28 event on 'Understanding Today's Struggle for Racial Civil Rights, and choose any two of more than 100 sessions or workshops to attend... Keynote speakers are National Book Award winner Colson Whitehead, author of "The Underground Railroad," and
co-author with U.S. Rep. John Lewis of "March," a graphic novel series chronicling Lewis' civil right history. -- Students must attend the keynote speech and a 50-minute homeroom presentation, but students who are uncomfortable with anything in the sessions will be allowed to leave."
-- All sounds pretty reasonable to me.
However, Monday night, when the floor was opened for comments, several speakers expressed strong opinions that the announced approach the seminar would take was "one sided," pushing a "liberal" point of view that excluded any guest speakers or seminar discussion topics that reflected a conservative perspective.
In my eyes, the glaring problem with those objections is that they are complaining about apples when the seminar is about oranges. The purpose of Seminar Day is not to discuss political theories or personal points of view on how to deal with the problems of race relations in America. The goal is simply to offer each student a chance to gain a richer personal understanding of the effect of racism in its many forms on individual human beings (including white folks like me). For opponents of the Seminar and, worse yet, some of the press to position the subject matter of this event as controversial is very odd. It seems to me there are no "two sides" to the general subject of racism in our society - you're either against racism or what?...You're for it?
But enough of my philosophizing. Last week, three Class of 2016 NTHS graduates signed an open letter to the community that did a much better job of explaining the purpose and value of Seminar Day than I ever could.
Here are some brilliant excerpts:
...because we don't have much racial diversity in our township. we don't recognize or question the disproportionate amount of white faces in the hallways; we don't regularly examine issues of inequity through the lense of race--and this is all because we don't have to. By not talking about race and not regognizing that we aren't talking about it, we are attempting to sweep it under the rug, which only perpetuates a cycle of covert bigotry in this community and beyond. Understanding the complexities of race and ethnicity is necessary when examining history, literature, economics and public policy. Last year, the concerned parent who emailed Breitbart News about the Seminar Day stated that "of the 59 classes, over half seem to focus on the color of skin and not the content of character" -- expressing the idea that racism is a concept with no real effects, the incredibly problematic notion that (while we all wish this was the case) the content of one's character is the only thing that affects their path to success -- not the degrading and harmful prejudice they have to face in America because of the color of their skin.
They went on to say:
...wanting to talk about and understand the complexities of race in contemporary America is not some radical leftist idea, and to dismiss it as such is invalidating. While in the current political climate it has been easy to push these kinds of conversations aside, claiming they divide us, Seminar Day only hopes to bring New Trier students-as well as mentors and academics-
of many different perspectives to come together and learn. To distract the conversation from a very well-planned day of community learning is a shame
Opponents of Seminar Day said that to discuss "systemic racism" as the root of all discussion "squeezes out" a chance to discuss "real solutions" such as "tax regulation and welfare policies that encourage marriage and families, independence and entrepreneurship." independence."
The NTHS grads responded bluntly:
This is what systemic racism literally refers to: systems that perpetuate racism. Policies in education, taxing, and welfare are within the governmental system in the United States. The education system, the taxation system, the police system all hold policies that, intentionally or not, disproportionately harm people of color in this country
I think the maturity and wisdom displayed by those young NTHS graduates in their response to the Seminar Day opponents is awesome. It is also pretty convincing evidence that New Trier High School is succeeding in equipping
its young graduates to deal with the future complexities of a multi-racial, multi-cultural America. Those kids make me proud to live in their community.
NTDO member since 1973
Pro-choice Action Alert!
-- Governor Rauner's office is receiving hundreds of calls from pro-life folks saying that if the Governor does not veto H.B. 40, they will not vote for him in 2018. If you are pro choice, please call his office to support HB 40. The Governor's number is 312-814-2121
State Rep. Laura Fine wants to hear from you about HB40, the bill to protect a woman's right to choose in Illinois.
Rep. Fine has said: She wants constituents to contact her by phone or email to express concerns about issues. -- Even if you feel sure that Rep. Fine supports your views, the number of people contacting her on issues is factual ammunition as she argues for support of legislation.
HB40 is a bill that was written to abolish Illinois' so-called "trigger law" that, if Roe v. Wade is overturned, abortion would become illegal in Illinois, as would several forms of birth control.
Under a Trump Supreme Court this is a real possibility.
HB40 amends the State Employees Group Insurance Act of 1971. Removes a provision prohibiting the non-contributory portion of a program of health-benefits from including the expenses of obtaining an abortion. Amends the Illinois Public Aid Code. Removes a provision excluding abortions or induced miscarriages or premature births from the list of services provided under the State's medical assistance program. Removes language providing for the adoption of rules to prohibit a physician from providing medical assistance to anyone eligible for medical assistance benefits if the physician has been found guilty of wilfully and wantonly performing an abortion procedure upon a woman who was not pregnant at the time of the procedure. Removes other provisions concerning abortion restrictions. Amends the Problem Pregnancy Health Services and Care Act. Removes language prohibiting the Department of Human Services from making grants to nonprofit agencies and organizations that use such grants to refer or counsel for, or perform, abortions. Amends the Illinois Abortion Law of 1975. Provides that it is the intention of the Gen
eral Assembly to reasonably regulate abortion in conformance with the legal standards set forth in the decisions of the United States Supreme Court of January 22, 1973. Removes language concerning the General Assembly's declaration that the unborn child is a human being from the time of conception and is, therefore, a legal person for purposes of the unborn child's right to life. Makes other changes.
Call Laura at 847-998-1717 or for more contact information click here.
Tomorrow morning, Feb. 23, in Evanston for Veterans --
A 13th District Property Tax Exemption Workshop.
Thursday, February 23, 2017
10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Evanston Vet Center
1901 Howard Street, Evanston
Come gather 2017 updates and facts on Property Tax Homeowners Exemptions -- With Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios, Cook County Veterans Affaris Director Bill Browne and Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin
(And if you can't make it tommorow, there is another workshop in two weeks in Morton Grove.)
Wednesday, March 8, 2017
6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
American Legion Post 134
6140 Dempster Street, Morton Grove
For more information contact:
Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin-13th District at 847-864-1209. 820 Davis Street, Suite 104, Evanston 60201
Cook County Veterans Affairs, Bill Browne Director
Evanston Vet Center, James Harkins, Veterans Outreach Specialist,
1901 Howard Street, Evanston or (847) 332-1019
American Legion Post 134, Commander Thomas Mann
6140 Dempster Street, Morton Grove 60053
Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios at 312-603-7310
This seminar will provide information specific to property tax exemptions for veterans. The workshop will be the same on both dates.
Please feel free to forward this information to veterans in your family and community who may be interested in this information.
Tomorrow Evening, Feb. 23, in Skokie -- A town hall meeting on elections and how to protect you voting rights with Cook County clerk David Orr and Cook County commissioner Larry Suffredin
hursday: 6:30pm to 8:00pm
Oakton Community Center,
01 Oakton Street, Skokie
As voting protections have been pulled back in recent years, we've seen increased efforts to suppress voting across the United States. Today, it is critically important that every citizen understands their voting rights. This is not just pertinent to new American citizens living in our region, but to every voter just turned 18 and every new move-in too.
Make no mistake, there will be attempts to suppress votes in 2018 and they may not be limited to other parts of our country.
This town hall has been organized In Cooperation with: Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, IL Sen. Daniel Biss , IL Sen. Ira Silverstein IL, Sen. Heather Steans, Rep. Robyn Gabel, Rep. Laura Fine, Rep. John D'Amico Rep. Kelly Cassidy and Rep. Louis Lang. It is being co- Sponsored by The League of Women Voters of:
Cook County, Winnetka, Northfield, Kenilworth, Glenview/Glencoe, Evanston
Have you visited Senator Biss' website "The Road Back" --
click on the link to his video -- then, throughout the summer follow his plan's development on the website.
Daniel explains a lot about how Illinois got where it is today and how we can begin the journey on the road back toward achieving our state's tremendous economic potential.
Other upcoming events and news items:
Tomorrow morning, Feb. 23 in Rosemont-- A Breakfast supoorting State Senator Daniel Biss
Thursday, February 23, at 8:30am
Local 881 UFCW, 10400 W. Higgins Rd., Suite 500, Rosemont
A breakfast supporting the new chairman of the Senate Labor Committee, Daniel Biss (9th District). RSVP register online here, or
Sunday, Feb. 26 at the Adlai Stevenson Center in Mettawa - "The 2017 Doomsday Clock: Why the Time Matters."
: Sunday, February 26, 2017 from 2:00 - 4:00pm
Where: Adlai Stevenson Center on Democracy,
24200 St. Mary's Rd., Mettawa (Libertyville), IL
Come hear a discussion of the Doomsday Clock featuring Rachel Bronson, Executive Director and Publisher of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. Dr. Bronson received her doctorate from Columbia University. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications including Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Chicago Tribune.
Tomorrow afternoon in Northbrook -- A United Advocacy Event featuring State. Rep. Elaine Nekritz.
Sunday, February 26, from 3:00 - 5:00pm
Northbrook Civic Building, 2002 Walters Ave.
Representative Elaine Nekritz (57th District) will provide an update on what is happening in Springfield and what can be done to help. In addition, there will be an update on Social Security by actuary and investment consultant Saif Choudhury. Guest speaker Lynda DeLaforgue, Co-Director of Citizen Action/Illinois, will provide more information on the ACA / Obamacare.
Wednesday, March 8, 10:30am: International Fair, 12:00noon: Luncheon
Sunday, March 8 in Chicago -- The International Women's Day
Fair and Luncheon.
Union League Club, 65 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago
WorldChicago holds its 16th Annual Chicago Celebrates International Women's Day Fair and Luncheon, "Around the World and Back: Women's Education and Empowerment in Pakistan, the U.S., and Beyond." Keynote speaker: Iram Shah, Senior Vice President, Customer Transformation, Schneider Electric, and Chairman, Sonia Shah Foundation. She will reflect on how her journey is intertwined with the status of women in different places she has called "home."
Tuesday, March 14 in Washington, D.C. -- NARAL Pro-Choice America's The Power of Roe Event.
When: March 14, 6:30 - 9:00pm
The Hamilton, 600 14th St. NW, Washington, DC
NARAL Pro-Choice America's The Power of Roe event. Featured speakers: Senators Tammy Duckworth and Maggie Hassan.
Friday, March 17, Registration/reception: 11:00am;
Friday, March 17 in Chicago -- ACLU Lunch: Fighting for a More Perfect Union.
lunch and program: 12:00 - 1:30pm
go. 720 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago
The ACLU Lunch with guest speaker Jelani Cobb, author and journalist who writes about injustice and the complexity of race in America for The New Yorker. To sit with Tenth Dems, Reserve your seat now-register here, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (847) 266-8683.
Purchase your tickets quickly: this event will likely sell out.
Ready for an interesting Spring Break? From March 25 to April 1 The Nation Magazine has organized a trip to Cuba.
If you have the time and wherewithal to get away, here's a chance to get to know a neighbor we haven't spoken to in 50 years.
You'll meet prominent Cuban professors, government officials, physicians, community activists, farmers, urban planners, journalists, and artists; you'll tour museums, neighborhood markets and the scenic countryside; and savor traditional Cuban food and spirits fine restaurants and organic farms.
The all-inclusive cost of this weeklong tour is $5,855
per person with double occupancy ($400 single supplement) including round-trip airfare from Florida to Havana; six nights in a four-star Hotel and one evening at a private guesthouse. For more info
Start making plans now for
the Peoples Climate March on April 29 in Washington D.C.
On Saturday, April 29 in our nation's capital and across the country, marchers will stand together to demand that Donald Trump act in a meaningful way to address the climate crisis and stop attacking the hard-won protections for all our communities, especially people of color, indigenous people, women, and more. Together, we can show the world that we demand climate action. To sign up for the Washington march click here. -- (More details for events across the country to follow.)
When: Saturday, April 29, 9:00 AM -3:00 PM
Where: Washington D.C.
Saturday, March 18, 2017
Wilmette Village Hall
1200 Wilmette Avenue, Wilmette, IL 60091
9:00am Village of Wilmette Board of Trustees
10:00am Wilmette Park District Board of Commissioners
11:00am Wilmette School District 39 Board of Education
12:00pm Wilmette School District 37 Board of Education
1:00pm New Trier Township Board of Trustees*
The League of Women Voters of Wilmette
*In cooperation with LWV Winnetka/Northfield/Kenilworth
who represent New Trier Township in
Washington, Springfield and Cook County
You'll be hearing a lot from these exceptional public servants. --
And they want to be hearing a lot from you.
The fact is, they need to hear from you and want to hear from you in order to represent you most effectively. So, the first thing you can do is get to know who these people are. The links below to their campaign websites are a good place to start.
, 9th U.S. Congressional District Representative
and Chief Deputy House Democratic Whip. The new Ninth District boundaries include all of New Trier except for Glencoe.
, 10th U.S. Congressional District Representative which includes a number of precincts in Glencoe.
Julie Morrison, State Senator for Illinois' 29th State Senate District
State Senator for Illinois' 9th State Senate Distric
t.The Ninth District includes all of New Trier Township.
. The district includes New Trier's northernmost precincts.
IL 18th District State Representative
. The 18th District includes much of New Trier up to Hazel Avenue and Dundee Road.
, IL 17th District State Representative.
The 17th District includes the East Glenview and West Wilmette areas of New Trier Township.
IL 58th District State Representative.
The 58th District includes the northernmost precincts in Glencoe.
Larry Suffredin, Cook County 13th District Commissioner. The 13th District includes all of New Trier, Evanston and Niles Townships.
Dear Fellow Democrats,
If you are not already an NTDO member, and enjoy our Newsletter, we hope you consider joining us as a dues-paying member. NTDO is a not-for-profit political action organization. We depend on our membership dues to support our Democratic causes and candidates.
There are two options for dues payments: by check or credit card.
By Check: Make check payable to NTDO and mail to our office:
800 Oak St., Suite 112
Winnetka, IL 60093
By Credit Card: visit our website by clicking here
Click on the "Get Involved" tab
Find the link for "contribute with ActBlue"
or go directly there by clicking here.
|Still not a member of the New Trier Dems? Your participation in grassroots political action will make a difference. -- Come join us.
When you're a member of the New Trier Democratic Organization, you have an active role in affecting the political process; participating in grassroots campaigns, staying in touch with elected officials, playing a role in deciding which candidates are endorsed. You'll also gain free admission to select forums and events throughout the year.
Come be a part of New Trier's grassroots political community.
The New Trier Democratic Organization is made up of hundreds of grassroots volunteers dedicated to advancing progressive ideals through the political process. We welcome your participation.
Dean T. Maragos, Committeeman New Trier Township
We are located at 800 Oak Street in Winnetka, IL. Ph: 847-446-8030
*This Internet communication paid for by the New Trier Democratic Organization and not authorized by any federal or state candidate or campaign committee. A copy of our report filed with the State Board of Elections is available for purchase from the State Board of Elections in Springfield, Illinois.