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Episode 16: Todd Hasak-Lowy

The Check Out

Release Date: 01/21/2021

Episode 19: Nia Williams and Mollie Hartenstein: Evanston Fight for Black Lives show art Episode 19: Nia Williams and Mollie Hartenstein: Evanston Fight for Black Lives

The Check Out

Evanston Fight for Black Lives is an activist group led by Evanston youth that formed in June 2020 following the murder of George Floyd, when racial justice demonstrations and conversations about White Supremacy in America were taking shape across the country. The group focuses on pursuing abolition and justice for the Black community, holding marches, virtual conversations, sit-ins, and more to help further their cause. Evanston Township High School grads and EFBL organizers Mollie Hartenstein and Nia Williams discuss what it’s like being a young activist, what abolition means to them, and...

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Episode 18: Dr. Michael Allen show art Episode 18: Dr. Michael Allen

The Check Out

Dr. Michael Allen is the principal of Oakton Elementary School in Evanston. In 2020 he was named Elementary Principal of the Year by the Illinois Principals Association. Dr. Allen grew up in the projects of Zion, Illinois and experienced homelessness in childhood. Today he sees himself as a voice for and to empower marginalized people, both students and leaders. He’s the author of Brotherly Love, published in 2020. This book for middle graders describes the true story of how he helped his struggling youngest brother by removing him from an unstable home life, advocating for him, and...

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Episode 17: Tim Rhoze show art Episode 17: Tim Rhoze

The Check Out

Director, actor, and playwright Tim Rhoze is the Producing Artistic Director of Evanston’s Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre. Tim has directed and produced more than 30 productions during his tenure and also written, co-written, and directed world premiere performances. Tim has performed at theatres including Chicago’s Goodman, Victory Gardens, Northlight, Steppenwolf, and Broadway’s Manhattan Theatre Club. You may have seen him on Grey’s Anatomy, Chicago PD, and The Practice to name just a few TV shows in which he’s appeared. Enjoy this beautiful, resonant storyteller discuss his path to a...

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Episode 16: Todd Hasak-Lowy show art Episode 16: Todd Hasak-Lowy

The Check Out

Todd Hasak-Lowy is the author of two books for adults, a book of short stories called The Task of this Translator and the novel Captives. He has also written several books for younger readers and young adults. Todd is also a translator of literature from Hebrew to English, taught at the University of Florida for eight years, and currently teaches at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. In this episode, we focus on discussing his latest book for older kids--We Are Power: How Nonviolent Activism Changes the World, published April 2020. We talk about what non-violent activism is, how...

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Episode 15: Meleika Gardner show art Episode 15: Meleika Gardner

The Check Out

Meleika Gardner has been on an inspiring path with a lot of creative twists and turns. Her early career in Atlanta and Los Angeles included dancing on the road for La Face Records, a joint venture with the recording artist Babyface and Arista Records, and working with the Concord Music Group, learning directly from famed producer Norman Lear. Starting in 2013, Meleika started Evanston Live TV, a social media and YouTube platform she uses to tell important Evanston stories related to politics, social justice, and community affairs. She serves on the board of WE WILL (Women Empowering Women in...

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Episode 14: Christine Wolf show art Episode 14: Christine Wolf

The Check Out

Christine Wolf, a longtime Evanston resident, describes herself as an author and enterprise journalist. She wasn’t always a writer. She’s previously worked in advertising and spent years teaching. About 15 years ago, she decided to write and jumped in with both feet, often exhibiting a good deal of emotional bravery in the kinds of topics she tackles. In this episode, we talk about her writing path, stories that matter to her, and how she engages the community through a career that is now focused on storytelling and making connections that can make a difference. The Evanston Public Library...

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Episode 13: Karen Danczak Lyons show art Episode 13: Karen Danczak Lyons

The Check Out

Sitting in for Jill Schacter, show producer Steve Johnson interviews Evanston Public Library Executive Director Karen Danczak Lyons. Karen has been at the helm of the Library since 2012 after nearly two decades in the Chicago Public Library system. In this conversation, Karen and Steve explore how the Library is reimagining itself as it serves the community using an equity lens; they talk about access to programming and technology; budgets before, during and after the pandemic; and the viability of branches. Karen also gives insight into what issues keep her up at night related to serving the...

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Episode 12: Miguel Ruiz show art Episode 12: Miguel Ruiz

The Check Out

Miguel Ruiz is the librarian in charge of the brand new Robert Crown Library Branch in Evanston. He considers this to be a once in a career opportunity and is devoted to providing public service, programming, and community engagement there in the most equitable way possible.  In this episode, we discuss what it's like to be a Latino librarian (hint: he's very rare), some of the barriers on the way, and how he serendipitously found his way to the profession without really knowing it was happening. He shares his ideas on the unique value of libraries, the skills needed in 21st century...

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Episode 11: Robin Rue Simmons show art Episode 11: Robin Rue Simmons

The Check Out

Robin Rue Simmons is the 5th Ward Alderman for the city of Evanston. She grew up and currently lives in the 5th Ward. She is Chair of the city’s Reparations Subcommittee and is the lead behind the nation’s very first local reparations program, historic policy made right here in Evanston, Illinois. Her entire career has been profoundly influenced by the economic disparities she observed growing up in Evanston. She continues to work to improve opportunities for African Americans in the areas of housing, wealth building, and economic development with a solutions-only focus. In this episode we...

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Episode 10: Kim Erwin show art Episode 10: Kim Erwin

The Check Out

Kim Erwin  An Evanstonian of two decades, Kim Erwin is the author of the book Communicating the New: Methods to Shape and Accelerate Innovation. She is currently working with the Emergency Design Collective, a nationwide volunteer network of doctors and designers addressing COVID challenges, and the National Academy of Medicine measuring community engagement. Jill Schacter’s discussion with her focused on her research into the role communication plays in the innovation process. They spent a lot of time talking about whether communicating is enough, or if we want to actually make a...

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More Episodes

Todd Hasak-Lowy is the author of two books for adults, a book of short stories called The Task of this Translator and the novel Captives. He has also written several books for younger readers and young adults. Todd is also a translator of literature from Hebrew to English, taught at the University of Florida for eight years, and currently teaches at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. In this episode, we focus on discussing his latest book for older kids--We Are Power: How Nonviolent Activism Changes the World, published April 2020. We talk about what non-violent activism is, how creative it can be, and how it can turn weakness into power. We discuss various non-violent movements and their methods. He gives some ideas for parents with curious children who ask how they can help make positive change in the world. Learn more about his work at toddhasaklowy.com