Community members will gather on Juneteenth to culminate a month-long educational series on the racial tension and intolerance “hidden” in New Trier Township’s past, according to Jennifer Lind, host of the “Hidden Stories of the North Shore” series.
The series began with four Zoom discussions from May 26 to June 16 and will finish with what Lind is calling a “call to action” starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, June 19, on the Winnetka Village Green, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a civil-right address in the summer of 1965.
The “family-friendly” event will feature speeches, live music and displays from “dozens of community organizations,” such as the League of Women Voters, Justice Project, and the Baha’i House of Worship.
While the event is held on Juneteenth, it is not specifically a holiday celebration, Lind said.
“It is a community gathering to energize and inspire folks … to have courage together to have a more welcoming community,” she said.
There will, however, be a Juneteenth parade and celebrations in Evanston on Saturday. From the group Evanston Present and Future, and in conjunction with the City of Evanston, the annual parade will step off at 11 a.m. at the Robert Crown parking lot and move to the Morton Civic Center.
Hidden Stories of the North Shore is a program from Healing Everyday Racism in Our Schools, or HEROS, a local grassroots organization founded in 2018 with a mission to acknowledge and address racism in local schools.
The Hidden Stories series expands that mission to the community.
“It’s really to highlight the history we don’t talk about, the history that’s literally below our feet,” Lind said. “There are many (hidden stories) wherever you live, especially here. … There’s so much here beneath this beautiful, wonderful suburban beachfront community that we really never study. So that’s what started this initiative.”
Lind recognizes discussing a community’s segregated and intolerant past is not an easy task for that community’s residents, but it is an important one.
More than pushback from the community, however, Lind said she has noticed indifference from some.
“I don’t think it’s ill intentions or hatred in people’s hearts. I think it’s indifference,” she said. “ … It’s nothing unique to New Trier Township. This is national and global. … We don’t have to care about things. We were intentionally designed to be a white community and we really don’t have to care in our daily and long-term lives but eventually it is just the right thing to do.
“We’re not serving our children well by just teaching the pleasant side of history.”
That mission continues on Saturday morning, June 19, on Winnetka’s Village Green.
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