Many of us are still reeling over the violent mob that descended on our Capitol building, as well as the racist act against Live Café in Oak Park. Though there is a lot still to be uncovered, discovered, and revealed from both the siege on our nation’s capital as well as Live café, which targeted two local black candidates from the Represent Oak Park ticket, what we do know is that they are both steeped in hate. 

It’s crucial to see these two acts as intimately connected, as racists now feel emboldened and licensed to speak out and act out, feeling as though they are entitled to their racist views, as they are favored and privileged in most systems and institutions.

My focus here is on Oak Park, as that was a blatant, unfounded, racist attempt at keeping two worthy, qualified, valid candidates on the local ballot, but it’s much more than that. It is the flagrant use of agency, and demonstration of the ease with which many white people move through systems and institutions that have granted and maintained their/our systemic, institutional power. Certainly the knowledge of how to not only drag a candidate through the mud, publicly attempt to humiliate them by airing falsehoods regarding their financial records among other things, and extinguish precious campaign resources with frivolous legal, governmental, or institutional proceedings appears to be the goal with the attack on Anthony Clark and Chibuike Enyia, both running for village of Oak Park trustee in April. 

I will not stoop to the level of the “objector” as he is referred to during the proceedings and in the paperwork, other than to say: take your hate, and seek your fame elsewhere, sir. There is work to be done here. The village desperately needs to be steered in a new direction, one of action, equity, and progressive movement. You are the festering sore that will never heal until the elixir is administered. That medicine is true compassion, support, and love that will emanate from the Represent Oak Park ticket. 

Mayor Abu-Taleb said on Jan. 12, in the hearing that shamelessly invoked irrelevant issues connected to Mr. Clark’s financial status: “I’m calling on us to not encourage hate and divisiveness.” If you are truly interested in what is best for the “system” or for your village, questioning a person about what they have done for their family, or what kind of home repairs their family has done has zero relevance here. For your information, some of us actually support family members through our care, our actions, and yes, even property. I myself care for two uncles out of state and co-own a property in which they live. Would that be any business of yours should I run for office? Absolutely not. What people will go through to keep others down is simply despicable. If you have endless time on your hands, during which you’ve chosen to drag intelligent, capable, good people through this trashy misuse of public resources, I might suggest volunteering your time at one of the many worthy Oak Park volunteer groups that exist. I am happy to supply you with more information on them, should you like to use your time and energy for good, instead of for evil. 

I, for one, will do whatever I can in my power to stand up against discrimination and racism in both overt and covert ways. Let’s call it what it is: fear-based ignorance. I stand with Anthony Clark, Chibuike Enyia and the Represent Oak Park ballot, and look forward to voting on Tuesday April 6. Power to the People. 

Zerrin Bulut is an Oak Park resident. 

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