New Trier Democrats’ Blog

After the Walk: Thursdays in August

Last month, in each of our villages – in Wilmette, Northfield, and in neighboring townships across the North Shore – tens of thousands of residents, students, advocates, and Democrats marched in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. On the Winnetka Village Green, we hosted the largest protest in over 50 years, since Martin Luther King Jr. spoke there in 1965. 

We marched, because we were called to do something in the face of police brutality against Black women and men. We were called, in spite of pandemic, to stand up and be counted. And still, we know, that a walk down Elm street is not enough. Throughout our politics and our societies and our villages, each of us no doubt senses the winds of change. 

And so, this month, we go further, to engage our community, atone for our past, and reimagine the future of our village. Next Thursday,  I invite you to join us  for the first of four community conversations about race and racism in Winnetka and on the North Shore. 

On Thursday, we’ll hear perspectives from student organizers and Black neighbors and pick up the conversation that began in earnest a half century ago about who is welcome in Winnetka.  The following week , we’ll hear from almost a dozen students, from a myriad of backgrounds sharing their perspectives on growing up here.  On the third Thursday in August , we’ll invite historians of progress to share the story of how Winnetka chose to be 94.8% white (per the 2010 census) before. Finally,  on August 27th, we’ll close the series  with an honest conversation about how change happens, and how we can be participants in – and advocates of – racial progress and reconciliation. 

Some things, we hope, defy partisanship. Protecting Black lives should be chief among them. But as Democrats, we have a special duty to support and lead these conversations, because we believe that racial diversity and racial equity are to be fought for – to be achieved – not just written about. 

So, join us, Thursday evenings in August, as we embark on a community conversation about a future for the suburbs, and take the next step on a long journey along the moral arc of the universe, which – we trust – we might bend a little further toward justice.

Patrick Hanley, one of the organizers of the Winnetka walk and this conversation series, and NTD’s newest Executive Committee Board Member

Remembering Congressman John Lewis, A True Patriot

Last Friday, Congressman John Lewis passed away. Since then, thousands of words have been said and written in tribute to him; praise for his courage, character and unswerving commitment to the rights of all Americans; words describing his belief in America’s continuing potential and his love for this country and all fellow Americans — even those who hated him.  

That’s why on Monday, when NTD President Judy Mandel asked me if I’d like to write a few words about Congressman Lewis, I respectfully declined. I had never met John Lewis, or followed his career that closely. I knew he was a remarkable human being in many ways, but what more could I say that hadn’t already been said?  

This morning I changed my mind. I’m an old white guy who was raised in small Midwest towns that were virtually all white. They weren’t purposefully racist environments. But they were obliviously racist. Since those days, so many years ago, my understanding of the role of race in our society has grown a lot. (And my process continues.) And as I thought about John Lewis this morning, I realized that I owed him a personal “Thank you.” — I would thank him for making my long life better because of his resolute battle against the senseless products of racism.  

Yes, I know John Lewis wasn’t alone in those efforts. There have been many other courageous men and women of every age and race who have battled racist policies. But even among those exceptional Americans, John Lewis was exceptional. His words helped me see America — its flaws and its promise — with a clearer vision. And his perseverance helped bring about the integration of businesses, governments and schools. (Unlike my youngest days, my children did not grow up thinking segregation in parts of America was an accepted fact of life.)    

So…Thank you, John Lewis, for the huge role you played in the positive societal changes I’ve observed in my lifetime. They’ve made America a better nation and, I hope, made me a better person.  

And here’s one final thought: When John Lewis faced death on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, he wasn’t risking his life solely for Black Americans. He was risking his life for all of us — for the United States of America. He was a patriot in the truest sense and we all owe John Lewis our thanks.

Nels Howard, NTDO Member since 1973

PS: In a year when our democracy is in such danger, I also plan to thank John Lewis by working to remove the racist-dependent Trump administration from the White House and correct the disastrous direction his Republican enablers have encouraged. – Visit our Volunteer Opportunities page for ideas on how you can help.

In Memoriam: Nan Healy

I regret to inform you of the passing of one of our members and volunteers, Nan Healy of Glenview. She was a personal friend of mine and we were introduced to each other by our exercise instructor at EAC. He felt that both of us staunch Democrats in the same age bracket needed to meet.

Nan, in addition to being a good and generous friend, gave generously of her time to our organization. She always worked the greeting tables at our meetings and Annual Dinner and she tirelessly canvassed her precincts on behalf of our candidates.

She will be dearly missed by me as a friend, and greatly missed by our organization as a fervent supporter of Democratic candidates and our mission.

We pass on our deepest condolences to her children and grandchildren on their loss.

Judy Mandel, President of New Trier Democrats

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

I Can’t Breathe

First of all, I want to congratulate all the participants in Saturday’s March to protest the murder of George Floyd and all the African American men and women who have been executed unjustly by police departments all over this country. I am especially proud of our brave NTD members and board members who participated.

Now comes the real challenge. When the marches end and we go back to our pandemic existence for at least the next year, what are WE going to do to break this cycle of poverty, disinvestment and police brutality that is inflicted on people of color? It is fine to march and protest, but what will make change in these practices is to change those in charge of policies and our government.

We all have that opportunity in November 2020. It is not enough to wring our hands or raise our fists and then sit back and hope that change comes.
We have a dangerous President and he is aided by members of his party. Our liberties and freedoms are at stake and the plight of our disadvantaged citizens gets worse every day.

So I charge each and every one of you, whether you marched or not, to become totally involved – and by that I mean influencing the vote to elect Joe Biden President and to do that we need to help turn some of our neighbor states Blue. There are many opportunities to do this while in the safety and comfort of your own home. Our newsletter has many opportunities to post card or phone bank. For those who can afford it, donations to the candidates are also welcome.

DO NOT LET THIS MOMENTUM LAPSE. Let’s win in November and make the REAL CHANGE that this country is crying out for and needs desperately to save our nation and our soul.

Thank you again for caring and doing.

Judy Mandel, President of New Trier Democrats

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

Elections Have Consequences

I first want to tell the readers of this Newsletter that I hope they are well and safe during these trying times. Please heed the instructions given from Governor Pritzker and Mayor Lightfoot.

Secondly, I want to thank all of you who voted and I hope you were able to do it early or by mail. Please consider doing this in November so your vote counts.

In 2016, because of many reasons and none of them good, the country elected Donald Trump as President. Many of our voters stayed away or didn’t vote for various reasons. I am not going to rehash that election but I want everyone to think about what should be your criteria when voting for a candidate. If our candidate doesn’t live up to all your expectations of Progressive politics or Moderate politics, you need to think of the consequences of the candidate from the other side winning.

This is so evident as we face COVID-19 and our country is led by a narcissistic and ill-prepared liar. We have an opportunity in November to send him packing to Mar-a-Lago permanently. It depends on each of you!
When we finally decide on who will head our ticket – no matter what you think of that person and their particular politics or the Democratic Party’s influence in any of it – It is important you volunteer, donate and of course vote for our candidate. Also, pay attention to the down ticket races as we have some important ones in other Congressional districts, such as Lauren Underwood in the 14th and Sean Casten in the 6th.

Please try to vote early for the November election or vote by mail. You can see that anything can happen to keep you from the polls. I can’t stress this enough.If we all stick together and message really well, we can celebrate with a big party in November with our neighboring Democratic Organizations.

Stay safe and well.

Judy Mandel

President, New Trier Democrats

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, 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 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

The NTD Endorsement Meeting Notes

It’s been over three months since I signed off from writing a weekly commentary. But last Sunday I attended the New Trier Dems’ Endorsement Meeting and the experience sparked some thoughts that I want to share. I won’t get into specifics about the meeting results since that’s been covered nicely in another post on our website. My thoughts have more to do with a ”refreshed” perspective that the endorsement meeting gave me.

I have to confess that over the past year, the acceptance of President Donald Trump’s behavior by large segments of the American public as well as, it seems, every Republican officeholder, gnawed at my faith in the future of our democracy. I think that was one of the reasons I needed a break from writing about this discouraging situation week after week.

The truth is, it’s hard not to feel at least a little pessimistic about the state of our nation when the daily headlines and nightly news stories consistently underscore the divisions in our democratic (small “d”) society. It can seem like there’s little hope ahead. I suspect that many of you may sometimes feel that way too.

But Sunday’s gathering reminded me that grassroots political involvement is still an estimable force. And I was also reminded that the values and goals of the Democratic Party are, more than ever, worth fighting for.

I was inspired by the team of New Trier Dem volunteers at the meeting, each focused on their specific task, all ensuring that everything would go smoothly. It’s a cooperative spirit I’ve seen time after time, canvassing for voters, at rallies, on election day. And it’s a spirit that has power.

And when I heard the candidates and their representatives make their presentations, I heard speakers who put people and justice first. — A far cry from the divisive appeals and regressive goals of the Republican Party and its candidates.

So although we aren’t living in a state that’s in the midst of a crucially important presidential primary contest or one that’s an electoral vote battleground, we need to start feeling the energy Democrats in those states are feeling.

We cannot delay getting involved in the fight against forces that would see the United States abandon its vision of a better life for every American. We cannot allow power to remain in the hands of leaders who maintain that power by seeding disharmony and mistrust between regions, races and religions. We must turn back those forces who dismiss values established by our founding fathers as no longer relevant.

Right now, here in our part of Illinois there are plenty of opportunities to become engaged in what I believe may be the most important election year in my lifetime. There are newly won Democratic congressional seats in our region that must be held, and potential Democratic voters in neighboring states who must be reached. And of course, there is a disastrous president in our White House who must be defeated.

Throughout this campaign year, the New Trier Dems, the Tenth Dems, the Democratic Party of Evanston, Sister District New Trier and the Indivisible movement will all be offering potential avenues for your involvement. A scroll through our Volunteering Opportunities page now and in the weeks to come will give you a selection of actions you can take. I hope you’ll get involved in whatever way your can.

Nels Howard, NTD Member Since 1973

New Trier Democrats’ Endorsements for the 2020 Primary

Thank you to everyone who attended and participated in New Trier Democrats’ Endorsement Meeting! We had an energizing afternoon of grassroots politics and civic participation. A special thank you to all of our volunteers who made this event a success, and to all the candidates who took time out of their busy schedules to speak to our membership.

For New Trier Democrats’ membership to endorse, a candidate had to receive at least 60% of the votes of all members present. If no candidates reached 60% on the first vote, we held a second vote between the top 2 vote-getters from the first vote. If no candidate reached 60% on the second vote, then our organization did not endorse any candidate for that office.

To be clear, “No Endorsement” means that we failed to reach 60% agreement of our membership to endorse. This result does not mean that we are unenthused about these candidates. On the contrary, this result reflects that we have many excellent candidates running for office and we simply failed to reach 60% agreement. Democrats will have wonderful candidates who will fight for all of us no matter who eventually wins the Democratic Primary for these offices.

Congratulations to all of the candidates who received our endorsement!

New Trier Democrats’ endorsements in the contested races for the March 17, 2020 Democratic Primary are: 

U.S. President
No Endorsement

Cook County State’s Attorney
No Endorsement

Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County
Michael Cabonargi

Illinois Supreme Court, 1st District
No Endorsement

Illinois 1st District Appellate Court, 1st District
John C. Griffin

Illinois 1st District Appellate Court, 3rd District
Michael Hyman

We also endorsed – by voice vote – the following Democratic candidates in uncontested primary races:

U.S. Senate
Dick Durbin

U.S. House of Representatives for the 9th District of Illinois
Jan Schakowsky

U.S. House of Representatives for the 10th District of Illinois
Brad Schneider

Illinois State Representative – 17th District
Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz

Illinois State Representative – 18th District
Robyn Gabel

Illinois State Representative – 58th District
Bob Morgan

In the interest of transparency, and to satisfy your curiosity, here are the results from the final vote for each office:

U.S. President
Joe Biden – 43%
Elizabeth Warren – 32%
Pete Buttigieg – 25%
* Warren and Buttigieg tied for 2nd place on the first vote, that’s why we had 3 candidates on the second ballot.

Cook County State’s Attorney
Kim Foxx – 56%
Bill Conway – 44%

Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County
Michael Cabonargi – 69%
Jacob Meister – 25%

Illinois Supreme Court, 1st District
Margaret Stanton McBride – 57%
Cynthia Cobbs – 40%

Illinois 1st District Appellate Court, 1st District
John C. Griffin – 64%
Sharon Johnson – 18%

Illinois 1st District Appellate Court, 3rd District
Michael Hyman – 71%
Carolyn Gallagher – 21%