River Forest is learning one of the most powerful lessons of transformative leadership. Don’t go it alone. Look for allies. Offer help. Accept help.
In its sincere and ambitious effort to foster racial equity in the village, there is already a partnership with neighboring Maywood. The Twin Villages Covenant launched this spring out of the fallow soil of the long-fraught relationship between these neighboring towns. Who knew there was a partnership to be made, to be nurtured?
Now as the River Forest Village Board continues to explore its historic shortfalls and vast potential to nurture a more equitable village, it is looking this time to home-based Dominican University as a partner.
Dominican has a long, rich history addressing social justice. But those efforts have been in overdrive in recent years as it tackles both its own issues on equity and seeks to connect other institutions finding their ways.
Various members of its leadership, including Sheila Radford-Hill, the school’s chief diversity officer, spoke about “the need to change the narrative about race” while working to become “an equity-enhancing, antiracist institution.”
Village President Cathy Adduci said at the last meeting, “We talked … about becoming a better government. We’re talking today about becoming a better community.”
These are moments of aspiration and practical steps. We saw enthusiasm for this discussion grow last week beyond the core of female trustees who have led to date. And it inspires us seeing River Forest embark on a journey we did not see this village embracing.
“This is a long-haul forever project,” Amy Omi, Dominican’s minister for liturgy and arts, told trustees.
Never too soon to get started.