By Bob Seidenberg
Devon Reid, only 24 at the time, ran an against-the-odds race when he was elected as Evanston’s City Clerk in April 2017.
“Four years ago we achieved the unbelievable. We took on a two-term incumbent, won the City Clerk’s race with an overwhelming 66 percent of the vote. Together, in the Clerk’s office we’ve led on transparency, equity and greater participation,” he said in a statement, recalling the moment.
He’s about to take on another challenge, announcing in a Facebook post Oct. 13 his plan to run for alderman of Evanston’s southeast Eight Ward.
He would face off against the current Eighth Ward Alderman Ann Rainey, if she chooses to run.
Ald. Rainey, first elected to her seat in 1983, is the senior alderman on the nine-member Council in terms of service.
In his announcement, Mr. Reid acknowledged his time as Clerk “hasn’t gone without great controversy and push back.”
The Clerk has been involved in a dispute recently with Council members over missing executive session minutes. In July, his announcement of a new policy from the Clerk’s office, requiring the public release of police conduct and use of force records, ran into opposition from the City’s Mayor and Corporation Counsel, who charged he was exceeding his authority.
“The privileged purveyors of the status quo have worked tirelessly to block and deflect attention away from our progressive accomplishments,” Mr. Reid said in his campaign announcement. “I personally look forward to discussing every aspect of my record. I stand proud understanding every nick earned along the way has grounded us further in our struggle for an Evanston built for everyone, including a queer black man who survived two parents in prison, homelessness and foster care.”
Mr. Reid, whose four-year term as Clerk runs into next year, hopes to bring the same advocacy voice he brought to the Clerk’s job as a Council member, he said.
“It’s really about making sure folks who are the least proximate to power in our community to have a true voice and advocate on the Council,” he said in a brief telephone interview, discussing his decision.
A wide-open race for the Clerk’s position had already been shaping up before Mr. Reid’s formal announcement.
Former Seventh Ward Alderman Jane Grover, Deputy Clerk Eduardo Gomez, Stephanie Mendoza and Cynthia Beebe, a retired former special agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, are among those reportedly eyeing a run.
Here are additional excerpts from Mr. Reid’s announcement on Facebook:
Four years ago we achieved the unbelievable, we took on a two-term incumbent and won the City Clerk’s race with an overwhelming 66% of the vote. Together, in the Clerk’s office we’ve led on transparency, equity, and greater participation in local government.
Our efforts haven’t gone without great controversy and push back. The privileged purveyors of the status quo have worked tirelessly to block and deflect attention away from our progressive accomplishments. I, personally, look forward to discussing every aspect of my record. I stand proud understanding every nick earned along the way, has only grounded us further in our struggle for an Evanston built for everyone, including a queer black man who survived two parents in prison, homelessness, and foster care.
We are all students of history, and as such, we must remain connected to the movements for social justice that came before. We know we stand on the shoulders of giants and we honor the literal blood and tears those before us have drawn to carve out the space for our movement today. But, now, just as before, in order to run the next grueling lap toward justice with both speed and vigor, the torch must be passed to a new generation of leaders whose youth was tempered, not only by war, but economic instability and national rally cries of ‘I can’t breathe, say her name, and Black Lives Matter.”
And so, as our generation continues the long process of inheriting that torch, we acknowledge the structural difficulties and powerful foes before us, yet, stand boldly in our collective values. Today we announce our campaign for Alderman of Evanston’s 8th Ward and I couldn’t be more honored to lead the charge.