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Dear Reader: Changes, Old and New

Published on: July 26, 2017

Jody Allard and her family
The new managing editor and her family

I grew up in the Chicago suburb of Skokie, Illinois, in the early '60s. My parents formed a dynamic duo of inner-city (as the rougher parts of town were called) public school administrator and eighth-grade math teacher. 

With long commutes and small salaries, they were committed to the daily duty of trying to elevate lives in areas with some of the city’s most prevalent, most dangerous gangs. But while their work revolved around social justice, I have only one memory of our family being political outside of an election cycle.

I was 8 years old when Frank Collin announced a neo-Nazi march through Skokie. Collin knew, like so many, that my sleepy Chicago suburb was home to thousands of Holocaust survivors.

I clearly recall holding my parents’ hands as we protested with hundreds of our neighbors, refusing to allow one of history’s most destructive moments be glorified on our watch. My mother, I remember, did her best to explain to me why all of the women behind the counter at our local bagel bakery — the women with tattooed numbers on their arms — shouldn’t be told that strutting a swastika is the same as protecting the First Amendment. (See the 1977 Supreme Court case, National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie.)

Skokie comes to mind as I read this month’s feature. One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is the ability to question the status quo. We want to raise children who take action when they see injustice, children who have a passion to make change happen. This story shows us how.

Speaking of change, our team has an announcement: Our brilliant, creative, inspired and imaginative managing editor Elisa Murray is leaving after more than five years with our team. Her quiet, steady and elevated presence will be immensely missed.

Helping to make the transition easier is our amazing new managing editor, Jody Allard. Not only is Jody the author of this month’s cover story, she’s a highly experienced editor, writer and mother of seven (that’s her brood up above). You’ll be as floored by her work as we were, which is why we’ve published a Q&A with Jody.

 And with that, I wish you a happy end to summer!

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