Racial equity. It has been a non-stop conversation in our three local public school systems for several years. And there is headway made on a long, hard road toward first acceptance and then action on equity.
But it is not just public schools which must contend with systemic racism, which must upend processes that blatantly, and more often subtly, prevent equitable outcomes, which must begin decision making by considering a lens of equity.
What decisions could benefit from an equity lens? Everything related to policing. Hiring processes. The awarding of contracts. The demographic make-up of the current village board. There is clearly work to be done.
Oak Park’s village government, still basking or perhaps basting, in the integration accomplishments of a long gone century, is finally looking seriously at equity. A year ago, the Community Relations Commission, an historically vital group that in recent years spurts to life only intermittently, put forward a recommendation to the village board to adopt an equity plan and to put money toward its implementation. If the wheels of government grind slowly, these wheels have come to a near stop.
As we report today, there seems suddenly to be some urgency as the April election nears and an incumbent board recognizes this is the sort of complicated issue that might get sidelined in a board remaking. We’re studying agendas looking for when this topic is scheduled for debate and then for action.
We are long past time on this, and now time’s a-wastin’.