To all people of Oak Park (whatever race, class, tribe, or politically correct ID used):
I read the Sept. 29 Wednesday Journal, informing readers of Faith Julian’s devastating and unconscionable situation, but not unlike so many families, post-COVID.
My heart was broken and I found myself called to do something. Unfortunately, I don’t have the financial means to pay her taxes and restore the home. But I have always believed that one person’s will and determination can affect others and effect change.
I felt compelled to appeal to those who have compassion and despite their personal issues or conditions can step outside of themselves to help others who are in need or are less fortunate. I believe one person can bring about change when your call is from your heart and for the betterment of others.
I believe we are our brothers’ keepers and, when greed is not our motivation for why we act, collectively we can build and accomplish the unforeseen, the unimaginable, sans race, color or creed.
Why aren’t Percy Julian’s contributions to society, to Black Americans, deserving of a preservation status for his home? I recognize the tributes: a bust of him and a middle school in his honor. Great acknowledgements.
But the devastation upon his daughter and their home becoming endangered of being sold for taxes is another indication that Oak Park’s history regarding race remains camouflaged. Why isn’t Mr. Julian’s home a part of Oak Park’s historic landmarks and a legacy just as noted as Wright and Hemingway?
For Faith Julian to lose her home due to the extraordinary taxes imposed and perpetuated by Oak Park’s president and board members is unfounded, fallacious and systemic exploitation of its people.
On behalf of Faith Julian, I am advocating for a humanitarian plan of action to preserve the family’s home and remarkable life as a trailblazer during a time when Black lives did not matter, and heinous crimes against our people were considered a rite of passage and the cost for preserving white supremacy was the humiliation and degradation of Black families.
I am indebted to the Julian family for preparing the path and enduring the hardships and blatant obstacles that impacted and destroyed the fabric of a peaceful and well-deserved life.
The Julian family inspired my daughter to live in Oak Park. My oldest granddaughter attended Percy Julian Middle School and currently is attending Oak Park and River Forest High School. My youngest granddaughter will attend Julian Middle School next year.
Please, sisters and brothers of a multicultural family, find a way (no matter how small) to help save Mr. Julian’s home. Our action today can be a historical lesson for our future generations to emulate.
Young people, I challenge you to help!
Dorothy Wright is an Oak Park resident.