Posted by John Thomas
The meeting was online via Zoom and had by 24 members. We had 3 guests: Cliff Nellis (the day’s speaker), Carolyn Tubekis and Pat Savage-Williams. We were opened at 12:17 PM by President Chuck Norton followed by the pledge of allegiance. The Thought for the Day was given by Barb Tubekis
 
BIRTHDAYS &  ANNIVERSARIES :  President Chuck noted birthdays to be celebrated included Wes Baumann and Terry Dason. This week’s anniversaries include Heidi Sibert and Fred Schwimmer at 8 years as well as Todd Stephens at 22 years.
                                                                                                      
HAPPY BUCKS: Marie Kuipers noted her orthopedic surgical procedure was successful and, more importantly, she has a new job that she is very pleased with..
 
BIOGRAPHY: Joe Fell provided today’s member bio. In a long life in Winnetka he has been a retailer and also served the community by being on the Community House Board, the Plan Commission and the Township Collector -- the last one as a position no longer exists. He has been married to Karen for over 50 years and he notes some years ago they designed the house in which they live,
 
SPEAKER- At 12:35 John Thomas introduced today’s speaker, Cliff Nellis, Exec. Director of Lawndale Christian Legal Center. He is the lead lawyer in the center and is also a minister. Mr. Nellis outlined their efforts on criminal justice and reform in the Lawndale Community. Both in court and outside the courtroom, he provides both legal and commonsense advice to the under-25 age group. He has lived in Lawndale now for 12 years and knows the community well.
 
Cliff Nellis’ call to work with youth and young adults involved in the criminal justice system occurred in 2002 when he pedaled his bicycle from Denver, CO, to San Diego, CA, to Miami, FL, with a Bible which he studied assiduously.  Cliff had just finished a federal clerkship in Denver after graduating from The University of Chicago Law School.
 
He started his talk with two illustrative anecdotes about recent experiences aiding bewildered youth from Lawndale in Bond Court. He believes there exists significant bias against neophytes as well as Blacks in the system. Until a person is charged, they may not have access to, or can’t afford, a lawyer. So a court-appointed defender can’t be assigned. Mr. Nellis often fills that gap.
 
A very lively Q&A followed covering several areas common to Black residents – particularly young people.  One such was the ”Talk” given by parents to young Black teens. Although not himself a minority, he is keenly aware of the daily difficulties and what to look out for when approached by police officers.
 
During the Q&A, Pat Savage-Williams made a speech reflecting knowledge and agreement with Nellis’ comments. She also repeated what she had said in her own talk to us the previous week.
 
The meeting was then closed at 1:35 with a recitation of the Four Way Pledge.