Would the Comcast building development have been voted down had the community organizing coalition, United Power for Action and Justice (UPAJ) not been pushing for it from the start of the approval process in January to the project's approval by the Oak Park Board of Trustees on May 23?
When Park National Bank was seized by federal regulators on Oct. 30, 2009, the cell phones belonging to an informal network of social justice activists in Oak Park, Austin and surrounding communities began ringing "off the hook." Jackie Leavy remembered the nature of the phone calls: "Oh my God! Park National is closing. What are we going to do about it?"
Rabbi Yitzchok Bergstein insists he is not a missionary, but he is definitely a man with a mission: "To give every Jew the ability to celebrate Judaism." Bergstein, who moved to Oak Park in 2008 with his wife Nechama Dina and their family, is a "schliach" or emissary from the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, based in Crown Heights, N.Y.
One of the kids in Rev. Sarah Iliff McGill's youth group at Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church recently asked her, "What do you do all day — pray and watch TV?" McGill laughed recalling the moment, but if your only experience with pastors is watching them for one hour on Sunday or relating to them at a youth group meeting, you don't know any better.
Jacques Slaiher drove all the way from Batavia to attend a class at the Zen Life & Meditation Center, located in Oak Park just north of West Suburban Hospital. When Robert Althouse, the center's director learned that Slaiher found the center on the web, he was delighted.
If you thought the media were giving people in your community a slanted, incomplete picture of an issue close to your heart and you wanted to set the record straight, what would you do? Until 10 years ago, Oak Park resident Rebekah Levin gave her unquestioning support to the state of Israel in their longstanding conflict with the Palestinians — until a series of events began to change her mind.
In the midst of a lot of depressing news in the media about polarization in American society — a gay man committing suicide as a result of being harassed on the Rutgers campus, a pastor in Georgia planning to burn the Koran and an acrimonious campaign season — three idealistic young women are joining Dominican University's partnership with the Interfaith Youth Core in the belief that they can transcend polarizing differences and facilitate meaningful change in our society.