Oak Park’s village trustees sent their support to the victims of the racially motivated shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, last month, signing a resolution proclaiming “black lives matter.”

Nine people were killed and others were wounded in the June 17 attack by white supremacist Dylann Roof in the historic African American church.

At the June 29 meeting of the village board of trustees, Village President Anan Abu-Taleb read the resolution, which states that the village government will “pursue every opportunity to engage with others in our community and build relationships; and we will explore every opportunity to reduce and eliminate racial and ethnic disparities for all populations, and support efforts to increase diversity and promote racial equality in our village; and we will not be silent when confronted with racial bias, discrimination, hatred or violence; and we affirm that black lives matter.”

Trustee Peter Barber, who is African American, said he and his wife, who is white, moved to Oak Park in part because of the racial diversity in the village.

“One of the things that I’ve come to appreciate greatly is that we don’t have this kind of culture and mix by accident; there are a lot of folks in the ’60s and ’70s made a lot of hard sacrifices,” Barber said.

He said Oak Parkers must work hard, however, to maintain that diversity.

“We have to work hard to maintain that, and every member of the community has to contribute,” Barber said.

Abu-Taleb said that “resolutions alone don’t solve challenges” but it conveys the village government’s belief that “we are all in this together, and we are all equal and deserving of the same rights, the same opportunities and the same protections.”

Contact: tim@oakpark.com

Join the discussion on social media!