What I Learned from Ambassador Caroline Kennedy

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Mayor and Ambassador Kennedy collage

Last month, I had the opportunity to hear from and meet Ambassador Caroline Kennedy. Having grown up in Massachusetts, that’s as close to meeting American royalty as one can get. 

After taking a few deep breaths, I shared with her my extended family’s deep appreciation for her family’s service to our country; for reflecting the values of fairness, justice, and equality that continue to be held by many Americans. I also shared with her the fateful haircut my wife gave her Caroline Kennedy doll when she was a child. (Hint: Caroline's hair never grew back.)

In her remarks, Ambassador Kennedy shared a story about her recent time as the U.S. Ambassador to Japan under President Obama (2013-2017), when she met the widow of Captain Kohei Hanami, the commander of a Japanese warship that rammed and destroyed a U.S. torpedo boat during World War II, killing two U.S. soldiers. That boat, PT-109, was commanded by her father, Lieutenant John F. Kennedy.

Ambassador Kennedy spoke of the healing power of that visit, and of the special relationship her father and Captain Hanami developed years after the war. In 1953, President Kennedy, then a U.S. Senator, wrote Captain Hanami a heartfelt letter, addressing him as his “late enemy and present friend.” Their correspondence led to a friendship. That friendship helped form the strong bond our two nations share today. (Read more.)

I share this story because in today’s climate of heated and divisive rhetoric, it’s easy to forget that sometimes all it takes is a few kind words to begin to solve even the most difficult challenges.

As we head into the second half of 2019, let us channel the spirit of friendship, civility, and respect shared by President Kennedy and Captain Hanami as we work towards our common goal of making Evanston a better community for all.

Let’s get to work.


Mayor Hagerty Signature

Stephen Hagerty
Mayor, City of Evanston

In the Community

Miss this Week's Facebook Live Q&A?

Mayor Facebook LIve Q&A

This Wednesday, I had the pleasure of conducting a Facebook Live Q&A moderated by local journalist Bob Seidenberg. Thank you to Bob and all of those who tuned in and asked questions. If you missed the event, click below to watch the video.

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Statement On Planned ICE Enforcement In the Chicago Area

ACLU immigrants rights

With reports of planned Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) activities happening throughout the nation this weekend, I want to reiterate my message from a few weeks ago regarding the situation in Evanston. The Evanston Police Department will not provide any assistance to ICE in any enforcement actions in Evanston, and will be monitoring the situation throughout the weekend. At this time, we are unaware of any enforcement action planned here.

In the meantime, it is important for community members to know their rights, regardless of their immigration status, should they be approached by ICE in public or at home. The ACLU provides a helpful list of Immigrants’ Rights (en Español) for a variety of scenarios.

You can find my full statement in English and Spanish, as well as a list of resources, on the City's website. Thank you to all who are reaching out in solidarity and support for our immigrant neighbors.

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City Council Approves Parking Updates

Park Evanston icon

This week, the City Council approved a number of changes to improve the experience for those parking in Evanston. Starting next week, following implementation by the vendor, the Park Evanston mobile app will no longer charge a 35-cent convenience fee for community members who use the app's mobile wallet function. App users who pre-load funds onto their mobile wallet to pay for parking will not be assessed any fee. (Non-wallet "pay-as-you-go" transactions will still incur a 35-cent fee.)

The City will be posting more information about this change and other parking updates next week. Please stay tuned for more information.

Kiplinger's Names Evanston One of '12 Smart Places to Retire'

Levy Garden

The Hulda B. and Maurice L. Rothschild Enabling Garden at the Levy Senior Center.

Kiplinger's Personal Finance has listed Evanston as one of "12 Smart Places to Retire," calling our city "a rich cultural center with plenty to offer retirees." I couldn't agree more. Thank you to all who work to make Evanston an age-friendly city, including our Age-Friendly Task Force.

During the month of July, community members of all ages are encouraged to visit and provide feedback on 20 local businesses seeking recognition through the City’s Age-Friendly Business Initiative. Your input will help improve experiences for customers of all ages.

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Did You Know: Teen Beach Passes Available

Lee Street Beach - 2019

Evanston may not have a public pool, but we do have five beautiful, alligator-free swimming beaches. Teens 13 to 18 years of age who may not otherwise be able to go to the beach can pick up a free 10-punch beach pass at Evanston community centers and the main Evanston Public Library with proof of residency, such as a student ID. 

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Robert Crown Construction Continues

Robert Crown topping off

Construction continues on the new Robert Crown Community Center and Library. Last month, I was proud to join our City Council, Friends of Robert Crown, staff and others involved in this momentous project to sign the final steel beams to be placed into the building. Visit the project website for more information about the project.


Upcoming Events

Property Tax Appeal Seminars July 18, 23

Property Tax House

Learn how to appeal your Evanston property assessment with the Cook County Board of Review at two upcoming Property Tax Appeal Seminars, Thursday, July 18, 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the Levy Senior Center, and Tuesday, July 23, 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the Morton Civic Center. (Note: The same content will be provided at each seminar.)

Residents can file appeals through July 30. This seminar is presented by Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin, Cook County Board of Review Commissioner Michael Carbonargi, State Senators Laura Fine and Heather Steans, State Representatives Robyn Gabel, Kelly Cassidy and Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, and the City of Evanston.


Inaugural Pride Fest, July 25

Pride Fest Logo

Pride Month may be over, but the celebration continues in Evanston. The City will host its inaugural Pride Fest on Thursday, July 25, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., at Fountain Square's south plaza. Pride Fest will occur in coordination with the Thursday Night Live! event hosted by Downtown Evanston. All ages are welcome and admission is free.

I hope you can join us in celebrating the many contributions of our LGBTQ community members.

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