VOICE is a new grass-roots community organization that many Oak Park residents have heard about in recent news media coverage, Facebook postings, and other sources. VOICE was formed in response to widespread concern about the current direction of village government. Our name stands for Vision, Openness, Inclusion, Community, and Environment. We’re a big-tent organization that welcomes all residents who want to see Oak Park’s future shaped by citizen-led government that is responsive to the community, transparent in its processes, and accountable to voters. We collaborate with other local organizations that share our goals of equity, diversity, and democracy.
VOICE members come from many different backgrounds and perspectives. A few are former members of now-defunct local political groups; many are also affiliated with newer Oak Park civic organizations, among them Suburban Unity Alliance, Oak Park Development Watch, Oak Park Call to Action, and Property Tax Watch. These organizations share VOICE’s goals of racial equity, appropriate development, responsive government, and affordable housing.
VOICE is a civic action group that does not slate candidates. We have endorsed three candidates for the April 2 Oak Park Village Board election: Tim Thomas, Christian Harris, and Joshua Klayman. Tim, Christian, and Josh are committed to advancing VOICE’s objectives of building a transparent and democratic government, fulfilling the promise of Oak Park’s reputation as a truly equitable community, advancing policies that support the economic diversity of our community, and advocating development that respects the unique character of the village, its neighborhoods, and the environment.
VOICE is working to give Oak Park citizens a greater voice in what happens in our village. Changing the outlook and balance of power on the village board is only the beginning of the change we envision. The critical issues and challenges in our village involve tax control, responsible budgeting, appropriate property redevelopment, housing affordability, citizens’ access to information, and more; they concern our two school districts, the park district, the public library, and the township, as well as the village board. VOICE will remain active and engaged on all fronts as it works toward our vision of a progressive, inclusive community.
Read more about VOICE’s guiding principles at voiceoakpark.org. You can join by emailing VOICEoakpark@gmail.com.
Ron Baiman, Julie Samuels, Paul Sakol, Steve Krasinsky, Gary Schwab, Greg Marsey, David Gentry, Hilda Schlatter, Bruce Lehman, and Wendy Greenhouse
VOICE Oak Park Steering Committee