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Evanston Appoints New Equity and Empowerment Commission Members

Daily file photo of Andrea Bian

The Equity and Empowerment Commission. Darlene Cannon, Kady McFadden, Omar Salem and LaShandra Smith-Rayfield are the four commissioners appointed to the Equity and Empowerment Commission at Monday’s city council meeting.

City council confirmed four new appointments to Evanston’s Equity and Empowerment Commission on Monday.

The commission was set up in 2018 to address systemic inequalities in the city. Former Alderman of the 2nd Ward, Darlene Cannon, assistant director of the Sierra Club Illinois Chapter Kady McFadden, Omar Salem from Evanston and school administrator LaShandra Smith-Rayfield will join the commission ahead of its October meeting. The new appointees increase the group’s membership to 10 commissioners.

Efforts like the Restorative Housing Reparation Program originally proposed by the former 5th Ward Ald. Robin Rue Simmons to the Commission, are part of the work of the group.

In addition, the commission met with the city’s environmental committee to work on the resolution on environmental justice, which aims to recognize the damage done to colored communities as a result of environmental injustices.

The last meeting of the commission was on September 16, when members shared their Community Equity Survey to help the group reflect on the impact of their initiatives on racial justice. The next meeting of the group is planned for Thursday.

Other commissioners on the team are Alds. Devon Reid, 8th, and Cicely Fleming, 9th, and is led by Alejandra Ibañez, Executive Director of Illinois Unidos.

After the city council meeting on Monday, Mayor Daniel Biss The Daily said he was glad the new appointees were able to fully utilize the commission again.

“The Equity and Empowerment Commission is a city priority and has apparently been working almost half as hard with some resignations lately,” Biss said. “I am excited to see a diverse, talented and dynamic group of people ready to get involved and serve.”

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