Kenilworth must remove the name of White Nationalist Joseph Sears from their school

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Today Kenilworth, Illinois is one of the most affluent suburbs in the nation. One of the biggest feeders into New Trier High School, the town is generally seen as a great place to raise a family. But for non-white people, Kenilworth has never been a hospitable place to live. Joseph Sears founded Kenilworth with four key provisos: "Large lots, high standards of construction, no alleys, and sales to Caucasians only." Simply put, Kenilworth was founded with the intention of being an all-white society. Joseph Sears would be delighted to know that in the 121 years of its history, this goal has been realized. 

The racial segregation perpetrated by Kenilworth goes far beyond their formal measures. As time went on and racial covenants were ruled unenforceable by the Supreme Court, the residents of the town took action into their own hands. White homeowners would often refuse to sell to non-caucasians, and minorities who were able to buy houses were quickly met with hostility. As of the last census, Kenilworth's black population was only 0.3%. Rather than achieving any level of diversity, Kenilworth maintained a population of rich, white people, and fed the fire of white nationalism that the town was founded upon. This is best exemplified by an incident in 1964. When a black family, the Calhouns, decided to move into Kenilworth, they received a uniquely warm welcome: a burning cross in their lawn. It is incidents like this that made Kenilworth uninhabitable for minorities, whether or not they even wanted to live there.

In 2020, the lack of diversity in Kenilworth is beyond unacceptable. It is time for the residents and local government to condemn the racist attitudes of their town's past and take action towards a more inclusive society. We believe this must start with the renaming of The Joseph Sears School. Any praise bestowed upon Sears' name is a subsequent praising of what he stood for as a person: White Nationalism. Joseph Sears was a despicable individual, and we will not stand for the future of America to be educated in a school that proudly bears his name.

-This petition was created by New Trier Alumni: Jack Yonover and Solomon Podorovsky.