Susan Buchanan, an Oak Park village trustee, says she has received threats to her and her family’s safety following comments she made at an Oct. 7 board meeting attempting to silence white male trustees during a discussion regarding updates to the village’s diversity statement.
Buchanan, in a statement to Wednesday Journal Friday, said, “Both me and my family have received threats on both my village and work accounts. The police departments at my work and in the village are involved.”
She said she and her family would not be staying in their home tonight.
Buchanan lit into Trustees Deno Andrews and Dan Moroney, both white males, telling them to “shut up” after they expressed a desire to clarify a term – “systems of oppression” – used in the long delayed diversity statement revision.
“Why are you arguing what is a system of oppression?” Buchanan asked. “You’ve never experienced one, so shut up!””
She also told Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb, a native of Palestine, that his “skin was white enough,” when he tried to intervene.
While many audience members applauded Buchanan for the comments, she has since received vitriolic emails and severe criticism following her comments. Some have even called for Buchanan’s resignation.
Video footage of the meeting has made its way across the internet, even being posted on Infowars, a fringe conspiracy website, whose presence has been banned from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
In a written statement to the Journal Friday, Buchanan said she “lost her temper at Monday’s board meeting” and “immediately apologized afterwards” to her fellow board members, the village clerk and the village manager.
“I will do better going forward,” the statement read. “The diversity statement agenda item was the culmination of months of discussion about the wording of the statement, and my frustration grew out of that.”
Buchanan’s statement ended with her affirming her affection for Oak Park: “I love Oak Park and look forward to continuing to work on behalf of the people of this wonderful community.”