Oak Park needs Juanta Griffin at the board table as a village trustee. She cuts through the fluff, gets to the point, and gets things done in a collaborative, unifying way. Juanta was my fellow board member on the DivCo Executive Board, promoting equity throughout District 97 schools.

Juanta stands out in the way she leads in an open and inclusive manner. She asks the right questions; she listens to the answers. At a recent candidate event, when asked what she would do to help businesses recover from the pandemic, her first answer was to “ask them what they need.” Too often our leaders think they know how to solve a problem, but haven’t done this critical homework. She will not waste time solving the wrong problems because she listens.

Juanta has a very natural way of bringing people together. She has led so many incredible events throughout the village, but the one that stands out for me is this summer’s Juneteenth event, which she co-organized with Anthony Clark. At a time in our country when there was so much righteous anger, sorrow, and strife, it was her voice at this event that welcomed everyone in for a much-needed moment of pure joy and celebration.

She stands out in the way she represents those in our village we say we value but whose voices aren’t typically heard. She proudly hails from a strong working-class family and is a renter. Having Juanta with this direct experience sitting at the board table will elevate the concerns of these citizens; with 40% of Oak Park’s housing stock being rentals, this is an important constituency that is often ignored.

We talk a lot in Oak Park about diversity and equity in Oak Park. As a Black working-class woman, Juanta represents several intersectional perspectives that can help Oak Park walk our talk as a progressive community. As she often points out, everyone benefits from equity efforts, not only Black and Brown people.

Juanta is real. She is open. She is our future. Join me in voting for Juanta and a bright vision for Oak Park.

Michelle Major, Oak Park

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