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Event Series Event Series: Upcoming Events

Realizing MLK’s Dream on the North Shore: The Past, Present and Future of Fair Housing

January 11 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm


Realizing MLK’s Dream on the North Shore: The Past, Present and Future of Fair Housing
A Presentation and Panel Discussion

Thursday, January 11, 2024, 12:00 – 1:30 PM

An in-person event

Co-sponsored by Open Communities

At the Evanston History Center
225 Greenwood St, Evanston, IL

The event is currently at capacity. No more RSVPs will be accepted. 

We will also be streaming this event on Facebook Live. Click here to view the event and watch it live!

It is through our community’s generosity that we can offer these free programs! Please consider donating $10 to support our ongoing free public programming.

Notice of Filming and Photography

Photographers and News Media will be present at this event.

By participating and being present during this event you consent to the taking of photographs and video/audio recordings during the event for sharing and for use by external news media. If you do not wish to appear in photographs or be recorded, please avoid the event space during the presentations.

About the event:

Join us at the Evanston History Center for an in-person presentation and discussion about the past, present and future of fair housing in Evanston and the North Shore. The event is co-sponsored by Open Communities, an Evanston-based civil rights organization working to eradicate housing discrimination and unjust practices that perpetuate segregation and inequity.

This event is dedicated to honoring the work and legacy of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Speakers include:

Robin Rue Simmons, Founder & Executive Director of FirstRepair and Former City of Evanston 5th Ward Alderman. Rue Simmons serves as the chairperson of the City of Evanston’s Reparations Committee. She is the former 5th Ward Alderman for the City of Evanston, IL, where she led, in collaboration with others, the passage of the nation’s first municipally-funded reparations legislation for Black residents, which began disbursements in January 2022. Rue Simmons is a commissioner of the National African American Reparations Commission (NAARC), a lifetime member of NCOBRA, a board member of Evanston’s Connections for the Homeless, and she previously served as a board member for the National League of Cities’ National Black Caucus of Local Elected Leaders and the President of the Evanston Black Business Alliance.

Sue Loellbach, Director of Advocacy for Evanston’s Connections for the Homeless. Loellbach is the Director of Advocacy for Connections for the Homeless, based in Evanston. Her work focuses on changing policy at the municipal and state levels to support housing affordability, as well as community education and awareness building related to housing cost burden and its intersections with poverty, health, and wellbeing. Sue has also served as the Director of Development at Connections, and has worked in poverty-related non-profit organizations for over 15 years.

Cheryl Lawrence, Chief Executive Officer, Open Communities. Lawrence, JD, has executive-level experience in nonprofit and business sectors. She has many years of leadership experience to support her work for fair and equitable housing opportunities on the North Shore. She served as the Executive Director at Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing, one of Illinois’ preeminent housing and legal-aid organizations.

Dominic Voz, Director of Fair Housing, Open Communities. After more than a decade of therapeutic work with youth and families in the mental health sector, Voz shifted towards the policy and administrative side of social work practice. Inspired by The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein, he decided his passion was in the realm of housing justice, organizing and advocating for the human rights of all people to access safe and affordable housing, free from discrimination. He graduated with a Master’s at the University of Chicago’s Crown School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice in 2021.

Vanessa A. Johnson-McCoy, Open Communities, Fair Housing AmeriCorps VISTA. Johnson-McCoy was born and raised in Evanston. She has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She held various corporate positions in Human Resources before becoming a licensed real estate broker. She is part of Open Communities’ Fair Housing team, researching fair housing laws, designing workshops, and speaking to public audiences, among other outreach and educational activities.

About Open Communities:  The Evanston-based organization fosters thriving, inclusive communities through fair housing enforcement, housing counseling, education, outreach, and advocacy. Open Communities is rooted in the Civil Rights Movement when local residents organized the North Shore Summer Project to protest housing discrimination. The group culminated its activities with a rally on the Winnetka Village Green in 1965, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke to a crowd of 10,000, his first civil rights rally in an all-white suburb.



January 11
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Event Categories:


Evanston History Center Events


Evanston History Center
225 Greenwood Street
Evanston, IL 60201 United States
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