The coalition supporting Black village board candidates, Represent Oak Park has rescheduled the virtual campaign launch for trustee contenders Juanta Griffin, Anthony Clark and Chibuike Enyia that was set to happen this Thursday night.
“The Black community and our candidates have been through quite a bit,” Makesha Flournoy, Represent Oak Park member, told Wednesday Journal during a Jan. 14 interview.
“We are taking time as a Black community this evening to discuss what’s taking place both locally and nationally.”
As pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol Jan. 6 in an attempted coup, Oak Park was grappling with a racially motivated attack on Live Café which also serves as campaign headquarters of the candidates supported by Represent Oak Park. On that already eventful day, Clark and Enyia began hearings in front of the Municipal Officers Electoral Board that afternoon for challenges made to their candidacies. Flournoy called the day’s events “traumatic” for candidates and the Black community.
While the board dismissed the challenge against Enyia on Jan. 12, no determination has been made in Clark’s case. Clark’s hearing is set to resume at 10:30 a.m., Jan. 19.
Live Café held a widely attended press conference and a vigil following the attack on Jan. 7. Griffin, recovering from surgery, was unable to attend, but Clark and Enyia both spoke at the press conference.
“Due to, I would say, costly and unnecessary distractions that we’ve had to endure, we are giving our candidates and the community the space that we deserve before coming together to kick off their campaigns,” said Flournoy.
The launch will now take place on Jan. 21 at 7 p.m. via Zoom. Those who would like to attend can register for the event on the Represent Oak Park Facebook page. While village clerk candidate Christina Waters will be in attendance, Flournoy said the launch is more focused on the trustee candidates.
The event is meant to be a positive experience. In postponing it, candidates will have time to come to terms with what has recently happened.
“We are looking forward to better days, that’s for sure,” said Flournoy. “But we can’t have better days without making significant change happen in our community, certainly within our state and then nationally.”