Who we are Town Hall, 2022
By Michael Nabors
Evanston/North Shore NAACP
In November 2019, the Evanston City Council passed a resolution to finance a reparations program for 10 million dollars over a ten year period, for black people who suffered discrimination in Evanston. While the movement on the resolution was slowed because of COVID19, last Monday marked a pivotal moment in the history of the United States. The first municipality, town or city in this nation is now beginning reparations in Evanston. While it is a thousand mile journey, this first step is seismic. It will help some black families with housing in Evanston. It will show this nation that reparations is no longer a subject for discussion and analysis. But it is an issue ready for implementation. In the weeks and months to come, the reparations initiative will expand and reach deeply into other areas as described in the 2019 resolution. More and more Black organizations and businesses, residents and workers, will work towards these next steps.
While there is certainly not full agreement on the first step of the first reparations program in the United States, please make no mistake about it, reparations has begun in the United States. And we are proud to bear witness and participate in the first steps.
How far back does one have to go to consider reparations for the men and women, families and children whose ancestors arrived from the African Diaspora. In 1619 twenty Africans arrived at Plymouth Rock beginning the institution the African Slave Trade on the North American continent. During the American Revolution, a great many black slaves were promised freedom if they fought with the colonies against the England. The vast majority of those promises never came to pass. In her recently published book Until Justice Be Done, Northwestern University professor Kate Masur contends that America’s first civil rights movement started as many blacks and whites fought against black laws established by the colonies in the early years of our nation’s history. These laws denied both slaves and free blacks nearly all civil rights. From the Revolutionary War to the Civil War, as the abolitionist movement emerged, so too did a number of lawsuits seeking to grant equality to blacks, in the same way it was granted to whites.
The Civil War saw hundreds of black soldiers joining the Union Army. This turned the tide of the war and the north emerged victorious. Much like the aftermath of the Revolutionary War, there was hope that blacks would be granted freedom, not in name only, but in a tangible reparations initiative- 40 acres and a mule. Such a national enterprise did not occur precisely because of the rancid racism so predominate in the United States Congress.
While the next 100 years offered significant advancements; Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education in 1954, the success of the Montgomery Boycott in 1956, the March on Washington in 1963, the Civil Rights Bill in 1964 and the Voting Rights Bill in 1965, to name a few. Yet, there was still not a single act of tangible reparations for black people who continued to suffer unprecedented acts of racism.
Words on the conviction of police officer Darren Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd
April 22, 2021
Dear Evanston/North Shore NAACP Family and Friends,
On so many occasions we have assembled together in these community vigils to lament national tragedies in our nation. We gathered to remembered the nine men and women from Mother Emmanuel in Charleston. We gathered to remember over fifty people who lost their lives in Orlando at Club Pulse. We gathered to remember fifty more who were gunned down at an outdoor concert in Las Vegas. Just last fall we gathered on behalf the Blake family whose roots are dug deeply into this very Evanston soil upon which we stand. The cry of the prophet rings in our ears, “How long, Lord, how long?” In trial after trial we saw justice denied;
Trayvon Martin was killed and justice went missing with a not guilty verdict of George Zimmerman as he walked free.
Tamir Rice was killed and justice went missing and a review by FBI agent Kimberly Crawford found that Timothy Loehmann’s was justified, allowing him to walk free.
Eric Garner was killed and justice went missing when Attorney General William J. Barr ordered the case to be dropped and Officer Daniel Pantaleo walked free.
Sandra Bland was killed and justice went missing when a grand jury declined to indict State Trooper Brian Encinia or County Sheriff R. Glenn Smith allowing them to walk free.
Michael Brown was killed and justice went missing as as Robert McCulloch, the St. Louis County Prosecutor announced a grand jury decided not to indict Officer Darren Wilson as he walked free.
Breonna Taylor was killed and justice went missing and Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron convinced a grand jury not to indict any of the three officers as they all walked free.
There is some solace in knowing, Office Darren Chauvin made a short walk, in handcuffs, out of the courtroom to a facility in Stillwater, Minnesota a few miles away. His walking as a free man, has come to an end. Yet, before we can become caught up in a sweet moment where temporary justice can be seen as a flickering glow across the canopy of our nation’s landscape, the sin of racism continues to abound in law enforcement and our judicial system. Daunte Wright died at the hands of police, Adam Toledo died at the hands of police.
Since George Floyd died last May, one hundred and eighty one Black people have been killed by police- according to the research group, Mapping Police Violence. A brilliant, beautiful Black PhD student right here at Northwestern University, wrote these words, The police state that is naming Chauvin guilty is the same police state that killed George Floyd. We have to sit with the fact that the contours of anti-Black power actually require these occasional breaks and moments of “justice” in order to keep the very wheels of anti-Black power turning.
What we must do friends and neighbors in Evanston, is we must be ever diligent in balancing any celebration with the continued and vigorous demand for change, transformation and an end to racism. What we must do, is target racism everywhere, and supplant it with a fierce and loving spirit of anti-racism. What we must do, is be ever realistic that this one verdict in hundreds may not be the first wave in a tsunami of justice rolling across our land. But it may simply be a decision of necessity seeking to lull us back into conformity and unguarded ease. Remember, the very night before the closing arguments in this case occurred- our hero and she-ro, Congresswoman Maxine Waters was vilified for saying, “We must be ever more confrontational if there is no guilty verdict.” Judge Cahill tried to roast her. Kevin McCarthy tried to roast her. That villain Marilyn Green tried to roast her. And it is to suggest that with every victory, comes a more vivid realization of racism. With every step forward comes a more glaring display of white supremacy. As we break through barriers, as we tear down walls as we overcome obstacles- the struggle will not end. But keep in mind, we know what the end will be. Right wins. Love is always greater than hate. Evil cannot withstand good.
I encourage you to go thank God for the family of George Floyd who may be resting easier. But also renew your resolve and determination to wake up tomorrow for the next battle, the next fight, the next confrontation. Until we have won this war against racism, may our unity in this community- grow ever closer and stronger.
Peace and Safety,
Dr. Michael Nabors
President-Evanston/North Shore NAACP
Ms. Willie Shaw, who leads the Political Action, Civic Engagement, Voters Registration, and Social Committees of the Evanston /North Shore Branch NAACP, was a special guest on the Hollywood Bureau of NAACP Image awards that aired March 28.
She was one of only two guests from the state of Illinois. She was cited for her work with the Evanston /North Shore Branch of the NAACP, particularly in the area of political action/civic engagement.
Watch it streaming now! https://naacpimageawards.net/
(You can see Willie here as well after Deon Cole from Blackish at about the 11:44 minute mark https://vimeo.com/528499907)
WAKE UP, AMERICA
From the Desk of Rev. Dr. Michael Nabors
President- Evanston/North Shore NAACP
A response to the Presidential Debate held Tuesday, September 30, 2020
I usually sleep like a log. When my head hits the pillow, I am out within minutes, often for 7-8 hours. Watched the Presidential Debate. Couldn't sleep well last night. Restless. Tossing and turning hour after hour. When I finally dozed off at about 2 AM, I had a dream. Here it is:
It was post-election but before Christmas. The Evanston and Chicago landscape was draped in white snow. Along Lake Shore Drive, billowing waves of Lake Michigan rose and crashed against the shoreline. The trees were bereft of leaves and the concrete buildings stood as frozen monuments under the canopy of the wintery sky. Cars and busses made their way up and down the streets, boulevards and avenues, but they were few in number.
Something strange, unsettling permeated the atmosphere. I couldn't put my finger on it. Then, it hit me. There were no people outside. No one was walking along the sidewalks. No one was entering and exiting their homes. No one was carrying shopping bags along the Magnificent Mile. No one was pushing shopping carts out of grocery stores to their parked cars. No young parents were walking their children to school. No students were walking in small groups to various destination points. The only human figures were those in vehicles moving up and down the roads.
Then it dawned upon me. Something has happened. Evanston, Chicago, Illinois and the nation are under Marshall Law. I turn on the radio of my car and the announcement is clear as a whistle-
"Marshall law for the entire nation continues as white militia groups move in droves throughout towns and cities everywhere. Heavily armed, they are fighting and shooting every black and brown person in their sight."
"In retaliation, heavily armed black and brown groups are meeting these white militia everywhere. Hundreds, no thousands of conflicts have resulted in the span of a few weeks. Thousands, perhaps tens of thousands have died.
"Having lost the election by popular and electoral votes, Donald Trump has encouraged white nationalists everywhere to take up arms and refuse to accept the outcome of the presidential election. This has wreaked havoc everywhere. Police departments cannot respond to the unrest because they are fighting each other. National guardsmen in every state are actually fighting one another, as so many racists are in their ranks. When the armed forces were called out to restore order, they too began fighting each other with white racists being overpowered by black and brown soldiers who number sixty percent of enlisted men and women."
"The United States is suffering from total anarchy. Both the House and Senate have stopped meeting in fear of being assaulted, attacked and possibly killed. The Supreme Court has cancelled all deliberations on every case until further notice. The president is signing executive orders from an undisclosed bunker. Overwhelmed with no help from the federal government, state governors, mayors and local elected officials are witnessing the demise of their municipalities."
I turn the radio off, glancing at the waves of the Lake to my left and the sterile coldness of stately buildings to my right. Turning around, I drive home quickly to my family. Their lives are at risk. I turn down the block where my home is located and pull up in front of the house, I hear the sound of a bullet. My windshield shatters. I feel something piercing my chest as I slump over the steering wheel.
Then, I wake up. Wake up, America. For God's sake, wake up.
How did you sleep last night?
"What Black Lives Matter Really Means".Jun 22, 2020
Second Baptist Church Evanston
Reverend Dr. Michael C. R. Nabors, Pastor
The Official Site For the organization BLACK LIVES MATTER
My adopted home state of New Jersey was the recipient of this public show of virulent, white male testosterone driven racism. As a peaceful protest of young people (of all races) marched under the Banner of Black Lives Matter, they were met by several white men with a sign, "All Lives Matter", parked in front of a pick-up truck draped in a pro-Trump sign and American flag.
One man angrily shouted while kneeling on another who was facedown, mocking the death of George Floyd. After being identified one man was suspended from the state's Department of Corrections for participating in the group. It's not enough.
To successfully wage a war against racism that should have been fought just after the Civil War ended, every single person in the racist anti-protest group must be identified. Their names and places of employment should be made public. Protests should be made against whoever employs them. The economic pressure of losing jobs is far stronger than any public condemnation. These people do not care what we think about them. So absorbed are they in their own myopic lens of the world, until, as Ellison wrote so long ago, "They simply refuse to see us."
I believe our nation is so filled with such racists, until only a painful, powerful and encompassing war against racism will change our society. For any public display of racism, the full arm of the law will be brought down with full force. Hate and bias crimes will be leveled and racists will go to jail, have a criminal record and have any resources seized for damages done. Racists must be leveled. They must be crushed.
If there is to be a war on racism. Let it begin. I'm tired. Tired of ignorance winning the day. Tired of arrogance hurting young people striving for a more just society. Tired of a racist president. Tired of his racist followers. Tired of his racist appointees. Tired of the public racists who embarrass themselves with such stupid acts. Tired of the private racists too cowardly to show their true colors. Tired of thinking time will improve our nation regarding race relations. Tired of hoping racists will have a change of heart. Tired of believing "the system" will ultimately act favorably towards all people. Tired of praying that the hearts of racists will change.
I'm ready for a war against racism that has stained the canopy of my country since my ancestors fought- Elijah DePew, Britton Jones and William Ampey (the last being my great, great, great grandfather) fought in the American Revolution, Charles Ampey, Isom Ampey and Albert Whaling (the last two being my great great grandfathers) fought in the Civil War, John Jones (great grandfather) fought in the Spanish American War, Charles Whaling, James Tucker, John Crutcher, Roger Nabors and Douglas Nabors fought in WWII, the Vietnam and Desert Storm wars.
I am a Black American and this is just one of countless stories flowing from the lives of our people. How dare these ignorant white racists think they stand a chance against us! They don't know me. And they do not know us. Destiny and divinity combined, has brought Black America to where we are. And our best is yet to come.
A Tribute to Hecky Powell, former President of the Evanston/North Shore NAACP
I stand with the Evanston community today, as we mourn the loss of Hecky Powell, businessman, entrepreneur, philanthropist and family man. Hecky’s loss is a big one in our beloved community. Living in a town like ours, we generally know most people a year or two after arriving. It was a pleasure to meet Hecky not longer after I arrived. Having learned he was a former president of the Evanston/North Shore Branch of the NAACP, I quickly reached out and asked for a lunch appointment. We had lunch downtown just after I was elected to fill the role he once occupied. We had a grand time! He spoke of Evanston from several vantage points; as a young man with a desire for success, as an adult with success, and as a champion supporter of young people. While Hecky was known most for his spot on Green Bay and Emerson Roads, it would be egregious to just stop with his barbecue.
“Hecky’s" the establishment, was merely the platform, which created Hecky the multifaceted, bridge building, foundation creating, politically transforming, justice demanding, cosmopolitan human being who lived just west of Lake Michigan. All day long, I have been in conversations with Evanstonians and the discussion, inevitably, is about Hecky. From the Mayor and several alderman, hospital CEO’s, life long NAACP’ers, church members and students, we are all saddened by the news. At the very same time, everyone also has a story. Alderman Rainey said Hecky hired her in the 1970’s. My 16 year old son wrote a family text, “Rest in Peace, Hecky.”
Young and old, black and white, that would please Hecky. He lived and longed for the day when Evanston might gather together its myriad resources and become a community for all people. Hecky lived his life this way. He was as warm and ingratiating with Northwestern students as he was with kids at Nichols, Chute or Haven. He was known for especially reaching out and caring for young people and young men, in Evanston. His heart was big and filled with a warmth and kindness that enveloped everyone. He modeled an Evanston of which we can all be proud. He exemplified a myriad of virtues like hard work, dedication, perseverance, goodwill and compassion. I don’t ever remember Hecky not having a smile on his face...except when engaged in a deep and serious conversation. As soon as the talk was over, the smile returned.
The word has gone out today that Hecky Powell succumbed last night to this dreaded coronavirus that has re-written the landscape of the world. It may be that when his obituary is written and released in the newspapers, that the description will read, “Cause of death, COVID-19.” Well, I have a different perspective. I believe Hecky Powell poured every ounce of himself into life. He lived it fully. He ran up against his own barriers and overcame them. Racism could not stop him. An organ transplant could not stop him. Other realities we will never know anything about, could not stop him. And so COVID-19, for all its terror and contagion, could not stop Hecky Powell. You see, his spirit remains with us. His love for life will always make us smile when we think of him. Passing by Green Bay and Emerson Roads will remind us of him. Seeing young people turn their lives around and become independent and productive young men and women will help us to remember, Hecky came by here. He came by Evanston and stayed awhile. And when he left, he made it a far better place than anyone could have imagined.
Our prayers go out to Mrs. Powell and his family. Just as Hecky lived for Evanston, Evanston is surely with you all.
Evanston/North Shore NAACP