By Max Seeley
Walking into the Illinois State Capitol building in Springfield for the first time, it is easy to feel a sense of awe. Knowing that these are the same halls that a young Barack Obama walked at the start of his political career and the same chambers where Abraham Lincoln served leads to a sense of inspiration and hope. This building that’s dedicated to democracy and progress for the Prairie State is filled with citizens from all walks of life, advocating for policies that they believe will make our state a better place to call home. This is what brought me to Springfield on February 22.
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This advocacy spotlight is focused on Kimberly Holmes-Ross, the Community Engagement Director/ Interim Executive Director at Evanston Cradle to Career. She is a third-generation Evanstonian who was born and raised in the 5th ward. Then, after traveling around the country, she came back and settled in the 2nd ward to raise her family. Like many people who live in Evanston, she has a strong connection to the community and recognizes all that the city has to offer its citizens.
Here are the goals that Joining Forces for Affordable Housing will be focusing on in 2023:
We'd like to introduce you to Rodney Dawkins. As the youngest of five, Rodney was born and raised on the south side of Chicago, in Bronzeville. He lived in the Uptown area for several years, then moved up to Skokie in 2021 and has lived there ever since.
by Nathaniel Hagemaster
For a variety of reasons, I am not a car owner. This has put a variety of obstacles in my way, particularly when I lived in rural Texas and in Fort Wayne, Indiana. When I moved to Chicago and got a job at Connections for the Homeless and started learning about zoning, I came to realize how many of these obstacles weren’t created by my car-lessness but, instead, by a societal expectation that everyone drives and by the zoning that reinforces that expectation.
For this month, we're featuring the executive director of the Reba Place Development Corporation (RPDC) and Joining Forces member, Keith Banks. Keith is originally from the south side of Chicago, moving around with his single divorced mom and his brother from rental apartments to townhouse co-ops and more. He relocated to Evanston with his wife 28 years ago and continues to reside in this town.
-- Written by Sue Loellbach
I really don’t like being asked for money. I tend to hang up on phone solicitors and throw away mail asking for donations, and even though I work at Connections for the Homeless, I sometimes cross the street to avoid panhandlers. When I encounter them, while I feel compassion for their need, I also feel irritation, frustration, sometimes fear, and shame. It’s extremely unpleasant.
For this month, Joining Forces is shining the advocacy spotlight on Bonnie Wilson! Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Bonnie has lived in Evanston since she was 21 years old. She has worked in real estate for the past 38 years and still works as a realtor today. In fact, Bonnie’s work in real estate is what led her to affordable housing advocacy.
For this month’s Advocacy Spotlight, we are featuring Joining Forces member, Terri Dubin. Terri grew up in the New England area, moving between New York City and Boston, then moving to Evanston in 1988 because her husband was from the area and the progressive politics of Chicagoland appealed to them. Terri is currently retired but has a BA in Urban Studies and has worked in a planning center in New York City, worked in architecture, and has had other vocations that involve her interest in “how cities come together.”