bringing diverse voices to the table
The pandemic has brought opportunities to Evanston, along with challenges. Making decisions wisely means that it’s important that the broadest and deepest set of community voices be heard.
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) allocated $43 million to be spent over five years to the City of Evanston. To determine the best and most impactful ways to deploy these funds meant bringing the community together.
ECF was proud to play an integral role in convening these voices. During the summer of 2021, the City hosted three town halls, two in English and one in Spanish. ECF with Evanston Latinos and the Evanston Early Childhood Council partnered to ensure that all community members had a voice in these discussions. More than 300 community members participated in these discussions.
ECF led a coalition with Evanston Cradle to Career and Northwestern University to hold seven roundtables, each organized around a sector, as well as a youth town hall and a survey of ETHS students. 169 people representing 62 organizations participated in the roundtables.
It was vital to this process that one of the roundtables focused on the needs and assets of Evanston’s immigrant and undocumented population and that one town hall was held in Spanish. Evanston’s Latinx population has grown to more than 11% of the population, according to the 2020 Census, and 21% of students in District 65 identify as Hispanic.
One community leader, Rocio Mancera, said that she has lived in Evanston for 21 years, and for the first time, she was included in a citizen consultation for vulnerable families in Spanish.
As Rocio told us, Evanston is a diverse community that needs to implement equality and fairness for all of its residents using its resources.