Directors’ Showcase: Janet Alexander Davis, an “Evanston-made” Activist and Advocate

Janet Alexander Davis has been a loyal and active member of the Moran Center Board of Directors for nearly 10 years. Janet first met Judge Moran when he was serving on the Evanston City Council. She recalls that he was, “a staunch supporter of rights for youth, showing mercy and real justice.” A few years later, Janet was then introduced to the Moran Center (then named the Evanston Community Defender). Janet had seen first-hand the impact of incarceration on our community and immediately recognized the critical lifeline that the Moran Center could provide to youth by helping them stay in school and out of prison. “The Moran Center is crucial in helping troubled youth get the services they need to disrupt the school to prison pathway so many young people travel. My respect for the staff at the Moran Center is immense. These are not their children, but you wouldn’t know the difference seeing their level of engagement and the lengths to which they will go to help a client.”

Janet is truly “Evanston-made” and as much as the Moran Center is fortunate to have Janet on our board, the entire Evanston community is fortunate to have Janet as an engaged citizen. Janet describes Evanston as a vibrant city with an abundance of social services available and she encourages others to get involved and make a difference. “I believe service is at the core of my spirit and with that, a desire to work with others, accomplishing our work for the good of all. This path has led me to engage myself in myriad ways, always reaching for a higher level of engagement, service and personal growth… My time in Evanston has always been interwoven in activism, from childhood, and as I matured into adulthood, I did not slow down, did not sit down, but rather invested myself more fully into doing the right things in support of others.”

As a child of the 60’s, fighting for civil rights in our public schools, Janet continued and expanded her activism and built a strong network with many other Evanston activists. She became an advocate for youth and a mover and shaker for better education for children, especially those affected by poverty. Below are some of the various roles that Janet has had in making a difference for Evanston.

  • Citizens Greener Evanston – Environmental Justice Committee Member
  • Evanston Human Relations Commission — Board of Directors
  • Evanston United Neighbors — Board of Directors
  • Evanston Youth Initiative — Founding Member
  • Habitat for Humanity: The Evanston Project — Board of Directors
  • McGaw YMCA: Honoring the Emerson Street YMCA Committee
  • Shorefront Journal – Contributing Author
  • WEST – West Evanston Strategic Team — Founding Member, 5th Ward Newsletter Committee 
  • West End Area Block Club – Communications Management

Janet has also received several honors in recognition of her community activism:

  • West End Area Block Club, Hospitality Award 2008
  • Cook County 13th District Commission on Women’s Issues Awardee: Unsung Heroines 1996
  • Outstanding Citizen Award, 2016, Presented by the Yen Family’s Grand Re-Opening of the Evanston Holiday Inn