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Ask Evanston businesses to cut their ties with EvanstonNow because it perpetuates racism.

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Dear Evanston Business,

We appeal to you as a business that advertises on the Evanston Now website.

Evanston Now describes itself as a “news and information site for the Evanston Community.”  It has a responsibility to report in an unbiased manner that respects all members of our community.  Evanston Now has failed spectacularly to meet that responsibility.   They have blamed the victims of racism for their victimization, reinforced racist myths, used racially insensitive language, and published incendiary, racist messages.

We urge you to reinforce Evanston’s value of inclusivity by ceasing your advertising with Evanston Now and disassociating your business from the bigotry repeatedly expressed on this online source.

We highlight only a few of Evanston Now’s failings.

The City of Evanston, on January 11, 2017, released a video showing the arrest of an African American man suspected of “stealing his own car.” 

The Washington Post described the video: “Pinned to the ground, by officers who kneed and struck him, Lawrence Crosby screamed whatever he could think of to convince them that he was a law-abiding PhD student, not a violent car thief. . . . It wasn’t enough.”

Evanston Now, on the other hand, white washed the incident.  It reported simply that, “Evanston police this evening released video and audio recordings from an incident in which police, responding to a 911 call about a stolen car, ended up pulling over the car's owner -- and the confrontation that followed.  The incident has led to a lawsuit filed against the city and four police officers by the car's driver.”

In contrast to Evanston Now, the Evanston Review describes the video as showing the driver “exiting his car with both hands up, holding a cell phone in one hand. Officers approached with guns drawn. Police order [the driver] to get down and when he does not quickly comply, a group of officers rush him and bring him to the ground. [The driver] said that officers hit and kneed him.”

 Evanston Now ignored the disturbing police actions and the racial overtones of the incident.  Its subsequent reporting blamed the victim of the police beating.  A follow-up article on January 13 was headlined “What Should You Do During a Traffic Stop” and asserted that Mr. Crosby did not follow the Illinois Rules of the Road Handbook.

In an incident that is receiving national recognition of Evanston Police Department’s egregious and racially tainted error, Evanston Now focused exclusively on what the African-American victim did to deserve his beating. 

Evanston Now has a history of blaming the victims of racially tainted and illegal police action.

On November 27, 2016, Devon Reid, a young African-American man, was gathering signatures for a petition supporting his candidacy for city clerk on a downtown sidewalk.  He was illegally arrested by officers who apparently suspected him of panhandling.  In a shirt and tie.  With a clipboard.  Mr. Reid was released, the charges against him dropped, the arresting officers were disciplined, and the police department committed itself to a review of police policy.

Evanston Now then published an article headlined, “Clerk Candidate No Stranger to Arrest.”

The police encounters to which the blog post referred were more than a year old.  One resulted in charges against Mr. Reid that were thrown out by the court.  The other resulted in a citation for driving without a license due to an unpaid parking ticket.  Neither had anything to do with the police’s illegal arrest of Mr. Reid a year later.

The Evanston Now report of these distant incidents distracted readers from the police malfeasance and humiliated a young, African-American man who was illegally arrested when trying to serve as a leader in our community.

Editor Bill Smith has published comments that display his disregard for issues of racial and social justice.  He authored a December 13, 2016 post headlined “City Pledges to Welcome Illegal Immigrants.”  When a commenter pointed out that the use of the term “illegal immigrants” is not “aligned with the ‘welcoming’ and ‘compassionate’ efforts [Evanston is] trying to make,” Smith dismissed these comments, claiming, “Your argument that we should sanitize language to favor a political position makes sense for propaganda. It is without merit for news reporting.”  The authoritative AP Stylebook has long treated the expression “illegal immigrant” as disparaging propaganda and not neutral reporting.
Several sources report that they have attempted to post comments critical of Evanston Now’s reporting, but editor Smith has personally responded to them to disagree and has refused to post their comments. 

In stark contrast, Smith permits readers to post outlandishly racist comments.  A post on December 14, 2016, reporting on the recovery of a gun during a traffic stop was topped by a large photo of the accused black man.  A reader commented, and Smith published, “Thank goodness for Evanston's rich cultural diversity. Unlike other North Shore suburbs, we don't need to import dangerous losers from elsewhere. We grow our own right here. This way our children are exposed at a young age to all kinds of people and don't grow up thinking everyone looks and acts like them. Since our scumbags are locally sourced, it means a smaller carbon footprint that's better for "the environment," which we also talk about endlessly.”

Normally, such language would exclude the author from civilized society.  This racist comment remains on the Evanston Now website more than a month after its publication.

Evanston Now is responsible for reporting that exacerbates racial injustice in our community.  It is a megaphone for those who would spread racist vitriol.  
We urge you not to support this force for bigotry with your advertising dollars.

The following businesses pay advertising dollars to Evanston Now.

The City of Evanston - City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz, 847.866.2936- 2100 Ridge Ave., #4500 - citymanagersoffice@cityofevanston.org

Dell Computer, investor_relations@dell.com; us_sales@dell.com

Musical Theater Works, (847) 920-5360

 The Autobahn Service Center,, autobahnservicecenter.com

Northshore Dining Deals - Northshorediningdeals.com

Downtown Evanston - 847.866.6319 - 820 Davis #151 - http://downtownevanston.org/

Northwestern University - School of Professional Studies - studysps@northwestern.edu

Oakton Community College - 847.635.1600 -

Three Crowns Park retirement home - 847.328.8700, 2323 McDaniel,

Bradley Investment Center - 855.940.8700 - 3000 Central St - http://www.raymondjames.com/bradley

Fara Commercial Brokerage - 847.570.9700 - info@farabrokerage.com - 1740 Ridge

The Fix It Company - 847.869.8918 - linda@thefixitcompany



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