A New Birth of Freedom: What Will “Justice” Look Like?

President Abraham Lincoln first uttered this phrase on November 19, 1863 on the battlefield of Gettysburg. It is again relevant today during this new worldwide battle for freedom and justice.

The Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution legally ended slavery in the United States. Yet the racism of slavery has never ended.

America, in the 1960s, witnessed the Freedom Riders, the brutality of the Southern leaders and the brave leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King. Because of their heroic efforts for freedom and justice, a tectonic shift in the federal laws of the United States occurred – on June 19, 1963 President Kennedy in his Special Message to the Congress on Civil Rights and Job Opportunities introduced the Civil Rights Act. The Act became law on July 2,1964. On August 6, 1965 the Voting Rights Act became law. Justice was attained finally by the passage of these monumental laws.

This year America has been witness to racism by the tragic murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other African-American men and women in the streets of America. What the nation and world are again demanding is Change and Justice. But what will “Justice” look like in the 21st century?
What does history teach us about attaining “Justice”? It teaches us that although these national and international marches are raising the consciousness of America and the world, justice will only be attained for the Afro-American community when new laws are passed that guarantee their new freedoms. These are the mandates and options that must be passed into law.

There are six major areas of reform that must be enacted into federal, state and local legislation: Jobs & Economic Reform, Police Reform, Education Reform, Health Reform, Voting Reform and Criminal Justice Reform.
Jobs & Economic Development – Banking Reform Laws to allow minorities greater and faster access to capital to build small businesses in the neighborhoods, The United States government controls over a one trillion-dollar federal pension fund and very little if any is managed by African Americans and invested in their communities. When Black America gains equal access to capital that is not predatory they will be able to buy homes and participate in the appreciation and tax benefits enjoyed by the rest of society. Revise the laws to further perpetuate and strengthen Affirmative Action. CEOs of major corporations must include more minorities on their Board of Directors. include more minorities on their work force and include more minority vendors.

The Wall Street Journal on June 15, 2020 stated, “Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Robert Kaplan said systemic racism has held the U.S. economy back from reaching its full potential. A more inclusive economy where everyone has opportunity will mean faster workforce growth, faster productivity growth, and we’ll grow faster” Mr. Kaplan said Sunday on CBS. When it comes to addressing the headwind racism presents to growth, “we’re right to focus on this and bore in on this,” he said, adding that it is in the interests of the country to bring about a more equitable economic future for all…”

Police Reform – Enact federal, state and local laws to achieve absolute and total police reform nationwide. This must include zero tolerance of chokeholds. We must also have consistent comprehensive independent investigations and severe punishment for police brutality, corruption and murder. Police Licensing should be analyzed. Maintain police disciplinary records for 10 years.Fund new police training centers to emphasize non-lethal training and mental health assistance for the police to help them cope and succeed in their very stressful jobs. Keep the police force informed of the new advances in police enforcement.

Relieve the police from certain duties that are very difficult for them to perform. Reclassify the funding previously sent to the police to these neighborhood services such as funding to handle the mentally ill, funding to handle domestic violence and funding for community youth and job training centers. Monitor the progress on Consent Decrees and make transparent the status of the compliance by the municipalities. Community Police-Youth athletic events should be an important part of the reform legislation. Hire more African-American police. Currently only 20% of the Chicago Police Force is Afro-American.

Education Reform – Federal, state and local laws must be reformed especially preschool through sixth grade. Higher education needs to be free and available to all Americans as a matter of national security. America does not have enough intellectual capital to compete against our rapidly emerging foreign competitors. We need to invest substantially above current levels. At the top 100 universities in America black students represent a low percentage of the entire student body. If we don’t improve these numbers absolutely nothing will change. America’s black colleges and universities must continue to be financially supported.

Health Reform – On Sunday, June 21, 2020, in the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times prominent members of the health care industry stated in an article that “Racism is a Public Health Crisis”. The article states,”…The health centers and hospitals we represent are deeply woven into the fabric of the communities we serve, live and work in, and we stand united as frontline staff against racism, injustice and inaction…Racism results in generational trauma and poverty while also unquestionably causing higher rates of illness and death in black and brown communities…These social determinants of health include poverty, inadequate housing, underperforming schools, police brutality, mass incarceration, food deserts, joblessness, poor access to health care and violence. “

The industry is doing the following: Covid 19 –Working with the City of Chicago to provide testing and protective equipment to marginalized communities, Hiring Programs to hire minorities, Community Investment by keeping dollars in their community to create jobs and help rebuild strained and decimated economies, Pharmacy and Grocery –Thousands of residents are left without essential pharmacies due to closure, vandalism and looting. Healthcare providers are calling on pharmacies and grocery stores to reopen on the south and west sides of Chicago to secure vital access to food and medications, Rebuilding – Working with volunteers to rebuild communities severely damaged by the demonstrations.
Criminal Justice – We must end mass incarceration. Former Attorney General Eric Holder told the world that black men in America are getting sentenced to prison terms that are 20% longer than white men who commit the same crime. America must stop this racial discrimination. The Cook County programs of decreasing the inmate population by one-third by releasing minor offenders has proven very successful both for justice and economically.

The Wall Street Journal on June 15, 2020 stated, “Senior Judges Speak Out Against Racial Injustice…As demonstrations after George Floyd’s killing in police custody unfolded across the nation, the Chief Justice Cheri Beasley of North Carolina weighed in with her own declaration-the first in a wave of extraordinary statements by jurists around the country…she said “in our courts, African Americans are more harshly treated, more severely punished and more likely to be presumed guilty…these protests are a resounding national chorus of voices whose lived experiences reinforce the notion that black people are ostracized, cast out and dehumanized…As chief justice, it is my responsibility to take ownership of the way our courts administer justice, and acknowledge that we must do better, we must be better…Within days the entire California Supreme Court and the Chief Justice of Maryland echoed the exact position.”

Voting Laws – Encourage voter registration and Vote by Mail. Protect the U.S. Postal Service and stop voter suppression by harsher federal, state and local laws.

These are the critical reforms we must now enact into law. Black Lives Matter and this is what we must do protect and save all black lives.

Dean T. Maragos, New Trier Township Democratic Committeeman

Stay Safe! A Special Message From Committeeman Dean Maragos

Dear Friends,

In this difficult period I hope that you and your family and friends are safe and staying healthy by washing your hands and maintaining the required distances. We are very fortunate to have Jan Schakowsky as our outstanding Congresswoman. Jan has created a Wellness Check program that provides us with the opportunity to check in with vulnerable neighbors. If you would like to call your neighbors to see how they are doing, you can sign up for the program here.

There are many other ways to help our community.

  • Donate supplies to First Responders – Health care workers across Illinois are in need of personal protective equipment, or PPE. If you or your business would like to donate unopened, factory-made masks, gowns, gloves, or other protective gear, contact Serve Illinois here.  
  • Donate Blood – Social distancing measures have resulted in the cancellation of many blood drives in state, but a blood shortage would only worsen the health crisis we are facing now. The following organizations are looking for healthy, eligible individuals to donate blood: American Red CrossVitalant and Northshore University Healthsystem
  • Other Ways to Help – Order delivery from local restaurants or buy a gift card from your favorite boutique to keep small businesses afloat. Complete the Census online or by mail to ensure our communities receive the funding they need. Stay at home as much as possible to protect others from the spread of the coronavirus

We all must unite in these challenging times. America, throughout its history, has overcome severe crises such as this pandemic and we shall endure as we have endured in the past.

My best to you and your families.

New Trier Township Committeeman Dean Maragos

NTD Committeeman Dean Maragos’ Primary Candidate Guide

[Editor’s note: The following post was drafted by NTD Committeeman Dean Maragos and contains his personal endorsements for the upcoming Democratic Primary. New Trier Democrats – as an organization – did not make endorsements for Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioner, Board of Review Commissioner or Circuit Court Judges. The candidates selected below in those races are solely the choices of Committeeman Maragos. New Trier Democrats, as an organization, voted on endorsements on January 26. The results of that Endorsement Meeting are posted here.]

Dear Fellow New Trier Democrat,

Your vote now is critical to elect the best candidates to protect our Democratic values and defeat Donald Trump in the November election. Early voting in the 2020 Presidential Primary Election is Monday, March 2, 2020 to Monday, March 16, 2020. Election Day is Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Visit the Cook County Clerk, Karen Yarbrough’s website, cookcountyclerk.com for information on early voting and other voting questions.

Elected Position
Candidate – Ballot #

U. S. President
No Endorsement

U.S. Senator
Dick Durbin – 21

U.S. House 9th District
Jan Schakowsky – 31

U.S. House 10th District
Brad Schneider – 31

State Rep. 17th District
Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz – 111

State Rep. 18th District
Robyn Gabel – 111

State Rep. 58th District
Bob Morgan – 111

MWRD 6-year term
M. Cameron “Cam” Davis – 125

MWRD 6-year term
Kimberly Neely Dubuclet – 126

MWRD 6-year term
Eira Corral Sepulveda – 127

Cook County State’s Attorney
No Endorsement

Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court
Michael Cabonargi – 148

Commissioner, Board of Review, 1st Dist.
Abdelnasser Rashid – 151

Illinois Supreme Court
No Endorsement – (Note: Margaret Stanton McBride, a New Trier Resident, was within 3% of receiving the New Trier Democrats endorsement)

Illinois Appellate Court (Neville vacancy)
Michael B. Hyman – 174

Illinois Appellate Court (Simon vacancy)
John Griffin – 175

Judge, Cook County Judicial Circuit

(Bellows vacancy)
Kerrie Maloney Laytin – 183

(Coghlan vacancy)
James T. Derico, Jr. – 187

(Ford vacancy)
Laura Ayala-Gonzalez – 189

(Funderburk vacancy)
Celestia L. Mays – 194

(Larsen vacancy)
Levander “Van” Smith, Jr. – 195

(Mason vacancy)
Chris Stacey – 201

(McCarthy vacancy)
Teresa Molina – 204

(Gorman vacancy)
Sheree Desiree Henry – 207

(O’Brien vacancy)
Lloyd James Brooks – 212

(Patti vacancy)
Lynn Weaver Boyle – 214

(Roti vacancy)
Araceli Reyes De La Cruz – 217

(C. Sheehan vacancy)
Maura McMahon Zeller – 220

(K. Sheehan vacancy)
Jill Rose Quinn – 222

Judge, 9th Cook County Subcircuit

(Axelrood vacancy)
Pamela “Pam” Stratigakis – 231

(Luckman vacancy)
Julie Bess Aimen – 236

Judge, 12th Cook County Subcircuit

(Hanlon vacancy)
Patricia M. Fallon – 231

For more information on the judicial candidates, visit voteforjudges.org for results of 12 bar associations who evaluate candidates’ performance and recommend who is qualified to be a judge.

Thank you for your support of the New Trier Democrats and for voting in the upcoming 2020 Democratic Primary Election on March 17 (or voting early before this date). Your vote will determine the course of our nation.

Dean T. Maragos, New Trier Democratic Committeeman

A Special Message From Our Committeeman

Exactly 57 years ago, the United States was involved in the greatest crisis in history – The Cuban Missile Crisis. At stake was not only the cause of freedom in the world, but also annihilation of the human race. The Russian Premier Khruschev wanted to destabilize NATO, the balance of power in the western hemisphere and American foreign policy and influence by placing medium range nuclear missiles on the island of Cuba. President Kennedy knowing the Russian premier’s objectives knew he had to directly confront the Premier to preserve the nation and world.

The entire U.S. military, wanting to make up for the Bay of Pigs debacle, proposed to invade Cuba, oust Castro and remove the missiles. President Kennedy, knowing the strong possibility of nuclear war if there was an invasion of Cuba, courageously defied the military’s immense pressure for an invasion. On October 22, 1962, President Kennedy gave his famous address on the crisis warning the Russians of the American resolve to have them remove the missiles from Cuba or face the dire consequences.

The President chose a blockade of the island and not an invasion. The President eliminated Khruschev’s nuclear threat by having the missiles removed from Cuba and thus avoiding worldwide annihilation. The Russians were defeated by a courageous President whose loyalty was to the nation and having no other motive. It was America’s finest hour.

Today we are engaged in another crisis of great magnitude with the Russians. President Putin again wants to destabilize NATO, the balance of power in the world and American foreign policy and influence in the world. However now we have a President who is the agent for the Russian government and not against the Russians as is his sworn oath to the nation.

When asked about proven intelligence reports that Putin interfered with the 2016 American election, Trump sided with Putin and accepted Putin’s simple denial. When the Russian ally – President Erdogan of Turkey – informed Trump that Russia and Erdogan wanted Trump to remove American troops from Syria to allow the Turks to eliminate our allies the Kurds, Trump gladly accommodated Putin and Erdogan and immediately removed the American troops that were the only protection for our allies the Kurds. Trump’s betrayal not only completely changed the balance of power in that region but sent a profound warning to all of America’s allies that at a moment’s notice Trump would betray them the same way he betrayed the Kurds to assist America’s enemies.

Trump’s betrayal however united the members of Congress in a rare display of political courage not seen in Washington for a very long time. In a truly monumental act, Republican and Democratic members of Congress recently united against Trump and voted 354 to 60 to condemn Trump’s betrayal of our Kurdish and other regional allies and destabilization of the balance of power in the region. Trump’s betrayal in the opinion of a bipartisan Congress was clearly against American interests and a violation of his oath of office to protect the nation.

Putin is now the most powerful man in the region and he has been invited to meet with all the major powers in the region who realize that Putin is now calling the shots on American military and economic power – NOT Trump!

As in October, 1962, it is again time for courageous political figures in our nation to defend our nation’s interests both internal and abroad. Let us now answer the clarion call to stop Trump and Putin by every legal means available to us. This crisis again threatens our freedom and safety.

Trump must be removed from office either by impeachment and conviction or voted out of office in 2020. We cannot and will not tolerate this despicable character to again betray our nation any longer. As Leo Amery, a British Member of Parliament spoke in the May, 1940 session against the Prime Minister of England Neville Chamberlain, as appeaser of Hitler, “You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!” Chamberlain resigned within days of Amery’s admonition. Hopefully Trump will follow Chamberlain’s lead.

Dean T. Maragos, New Trier Township Committeeman

A Call To Arms

“For one true measure of a nation is its success in fulfilling the promise of a better life for each of its members. Let this be the measure of our nation” President John F. Kennedy, February 27, 1962, Special Message to the Congress 

This is the founding principle of our nation – to improve the human condition for all Americans no matter what their social or economic status. Yet today we are witnessing the degradation of our society at the hands of a man – Donald Trump – whose sole purpose in his holding the office of President of the United States is his own greed and self-aggrandizement. He has betrayed his oath of office to be loyal only to the best interests of the nation and its citizens. 

He is systematically destroying women’s rights, the overturn of Roe v. Wade, destroying the environment by allowing lower standards of pollution control, encouraging far right extremist groups, doing the bidding of dictators such as Putin and President Erdogan of Turkey, betrayed our allies in NATO and the Kurds among others. He has used the State Department officials in Ukraine to become his political henchman. We are now witnessing impeachment proceedings against this despicable demagogue.

 We all agree that our nation is in a dire state of peril. You may be asking what can I do to stop Trump and get the nation on the right path again. The answer is JOIN the New Trier Democrats in our winning plan to oust Trump from office and regain control of the three branches of government. This is our Call to Arms! 

Last year due to our New Trier team’s work we elected a Democratic Governor J.B. Pritzker and maintained our Democratic majority in both the State Senate and House. Yet perhaps our greatest victories were in our local Congressional elections as we added 2 more new Congressional representatives to Congress: Sean Casten and Lauren Underwood in addition to our other outstanding representatives Jan Schakowsky and Brad Schneider and we have taken back the U.S. Congress. 

On January 26, 2020 at 1:30 pm at the Winnetka Community House we have our formal endorsement session in which you as a New Trier Democratic member can speak and vote for your candidate of choice from the race for President of the United States, to Cook County State’s Attorney, Cook County Clerk of the Court and the Illinois Supreme & Appellate Court. 

The Political Momentum is on our side! We have seen Trump get soundly defeated in Virginia, Kentucky and Louisiana – supposed Trump strongholds. We need to take back the U.S. Senate and the White House in 2020.

The Fight Starts Now. Join us to defeat Donald Trump and all that he stands for. Become members for as little at $50. Join us on our work with the Democratic Party in Wisconsin and our work here in the Casten and Underwood districts. We are now establishing our 2020 strategy and urge you to join us in the implementation of our strategy for total victory in November, 2020. 

All of the funds we collect at the New Trier Democratic Organization are used only for political races and events supporting our candidates and causes we believe are important to our community. 

The choice is yours. Join us to defeat Trump or watch while he wins again in 2020 and destroys the America we know and love. Call us at (847) 446-8030 or email us to join our team. I know together we can beat Trump and fulfill President Kennedy’s charge to us to assist our fellow citizens in fulfilling a better life for all.

Thank you for your critical support in our battle. 

Dean T. Maragos, Committeeman