When America to Me, Steve James’ documentary that displays the opportunity gap at OPRF High School, was released, I spent 10 weeks working in peace circle discussions with many OPRF stakeholders, including Kebreab Henry. As the Black father of Black children in this community, the stakes are high when it comes to the success of students of color at OPRF. 

Week in and week out, as some of us well-meaning white parents came to the circle with responses to the film and demands of our school that were often limited by our own blinders and privilege (“Well, the system is working for my child, so why change it?”), Kebreab was a constant. He participated in and facilitated discussions in a measured and honest way that heard these stories with an open mind, and at the same time displayed the acute awareness of a parent whose children would face the risk, merely because of their race, of not succeeding at our high school. He discussed the success of his daughter, an honors student at OPRF, and how she would sometimes be the only Black student in class, with the determination to ensure that every student would have an equitable chance at her success, despite race or socio-economic status. This is the voice I want to hear at the D200 board table.

I will be voting for Kebreab Henry for D200 village trustee because of his experience as a dad and stakeholder driven by equity and the success of all students, and because of his experience. He has served on the D200 Culture, Climate, and Behavior Committee and on the D200 Community Council as well. As a business owner and project manager, he brings important knowledge and insight to his priorities, which include fully implementing D200’s Racial Equity Policy and Strategic Priorities, fiscal responsibility that involves minimizing costs while maximizing efficiencies and impact, and prioritizing the mental health of all students, especially through the pandemic.

Join me in voting for Kebreab Henry for the D200 board on April 6.

Jenny Jocks Stelzer, Oak Park

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