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The Evanstonian

The news site of Evanston Township High School's student newspaper

The Evanstonian

The news site of Evanston Township High School's student newspaper

The Evanstonian


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Protest disrupts Evanston City Council meeting over Ryan Field expansion plans

Art initiatives, police report among other topics of discussion

On Tuesday, Sept. 26, the Evanston City Council meeting was interrupted when members of the Northwestern Accountability Alliance, upset over proposed expansions to Ryan Field, carried their protest inside council chambers. Their arrival came with repeated chants concerning Northwestern’s plans to rebuild Ryan Field, arguing that rebuilding the stadium would bring disruption to residents and impact the livability of surrounding neighborhoods. In response, Mayor Biss welcomed the protesters to the meeting, but asked them to maintain decorum in compliance with city council rules.

Devon Reid, Eighth Ward Council Member, had a harsher response to the disruption.

“We had a protest here today, of sorts, and I just want to encourage Evanstonians to be strategic in how you make your voices heard in a way that will have impact,” said Reid. He then expressed that their protesting was disruptive and suggested that they find a more effective way to make their opinions known. 

Prior to the action surrounding the Northwestern Accountability Alliance, Mayor Biss opened the meeting by emphasizing city celebrations for Hispanic Heritage Month. He also encouraged residents to be a part of the various events that are being held to honor Evanston’s Latinx community. Those events can be found on the City of Evanston’s website.

Biss then opened the space to City Manager Luke Stowe, who introduced Joyy Norris, Cultural Arts coordinator, and Melissa Raman Molitor, Chair of the Arts Council. Norris introduced the unveiling event of a bronze bust of Jean-Baptiste Point du Sable, who was a Haitian trader, often recognized as the ‘founder of Chicago.’ The event will be held at the Evanston Public Library on Oct. 8. Catering is to be expected, as well as speakers from the Haitian-American community.

The microphone was then turned over to Molitor, who talked about the city’s celebration of the Evanston Arts Council’s 50th anniversary, scheduled for 2025. 

Molitor explained how the cultural arts in Evanston are at a pivotal moment in history. 

“Artists, arts organizations and projects, everything that’s going on in our city, it’s really incredible,” said Molitor. “We really want to make sure that we are highlighting that and supporting that.”

Molitor then detailed the city’s plans for including all of Evanston’s neighborhoods in the celebration. Additionally, desires to bring back the Lakefront Art Festival have surfaced across the city, resulting in further outreach in hopes of being funded through the Community Benefit Package.

With the Lakefront Art Festival’s renewal comes the opportunity to bring Black and Brown people to the lakefront through the arts, explained Molitor. 

“It has been a very difficult thing, [mostly] as a result of redlining, so we really want to find ways to get people back to the lakefront,” said Molitor. “[We plan on] doing this through the arts.” 

The conversation then shifted to a report by the Evanston Police Department (EPD). Stowe welcomed Police Chief Schenita Stewart to address the state of the department. Stewart reported on the slight downward trend in crime since last year, with a 4 percent decrease in crimes against persons, and a 6 percent decrease in drug and weapon-related offenses. Crimes against property have increased by 1 percent, with 26 motor vehicle thefts in the month of March. Since last November, the EPD has taken hold of 73 firearms, with two individuals arrested and charged with first-degree murder. Additionally, the launch of the EPD app was presented, which will be accessible for users in late September. Lastly, Stewart was recognized by Stowe and Second Ward Council Member Krissie Harris for achievements in her field since taking on the position of police chief one year ago.

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Adele Fammeree, Staff Writer
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  • C

    Charles S Calaman IOct 2, 2023 at 11:47 am

    Great job, Adele! Good read! It’s is in your genes!!! Please remind the Council member, this country was founded on … PROTEST!

  • E

    Ethel JonesSep 29, 2023 at 3:40 pm

    Adele, you have out done yourself. A very informative and educational read. Thank you for keeping me up to date on the issues and affairs of Evanston!