Twenty years ago, Ferguson, Missouri seemed intrigued by Oak Park's intentional efforts to foster racial integration. Representatives of that community, now much in the news after a police officer shot and killed a young, unarmed black man, hosted the Oak Park Exchange Congress in 1994. But with the African-American population now at 66 percent and most every position of authority still held by white residents, Ferguson did not manage to replicate Oak Park's efforts.
Next Wednesday, Sept. 3, Wednesday Journal, the Oak Park Regional Housing Center and the Oak Park Public Library will co-sponsor an open conversation on the similarities and the dissimilarities between Oak Park and Ferguson. What has Oak Park done well and where has it fallen short will be the focus of the conversation.
The panel, which is still being formed, will include Oak Park Village Trustee Glenn Brewer, Police Chief Rick Tanksley and Housing Center Director Rob Breymaier. Others are expected to join the panel. Dan Haley of the Journal will moderate the discussion. Questions from the audience will be welcomed.
Beyond Ferguson will be held at the Oak Park Public Library's main branch, 834 Lake St. at 7 p.m.