We like spring and it is here. We love baseball and it is back. So while we are in a cheery mood, here are some other things we like around Oak Park and River Forest.

Empty Bowls: This wonderful, thoughtful fundraiser is back, in-person, this Friday. For 20 years, inspired teachers and students at OPRF High School have pulled together such diverse threads to connect our villages. Students in ceramics class throw the pottery bowls over months of learning and good work. They engage local restaurants to provide soup to fill the bowls. And they invite our neighbors to gather at the school for a meal with a mission.

Guests pay to be part of the soup and bread dinner and they go home with a hand-crafted bowl. Beyond Hunger and Housing Forward are two local nonprofits that benefit along with an international hunger nonprofit.

It is simple and about perfect.

Citizen Police Oversight Commission: In its six-month report to Oak Park’s village board last week, CPOC raised concerns, again, about officers too frequently failing to turn on the limited recording devices the police department currently provides. That’s newsworthy and needs to be actively corrected.

More importantly, though, it becomes clearer through its own pushing, with support from the village president and board, and, we are hopeful, the new police chief, that the authority of this volunteer commission to impact policing in this town is growing. Coupled with the detailed recommendations of the BerryDunn consultant’s report, the contours of actual, intentional reform and reinvention of how we provide public safety are taking shape.

At a time when a recent community survey shows that Oak Parkers feel less safe, the emphasis needs to be on more change in policing. That’s the path.

ROYAL rally: Was good to see members of ROYAL, Revolutionary Youth Action League, gather Monday at Lake and Austin to commemorate the murder 11 years ago of Trayvon Martin in Florida. This is the fourth year ROYAL has marked this anniversary with an event focused on connection between Oak Park and Austin, to share a healing moment, provide donations of essentials to community members, and to push its agenda of “defunding police.”

These are young people who are persevering and mission focused. Good work by them.

The wonderful Doug Wyman: We carry the obituary today for Doug Wyman. He died on Feb. 24 at the age of 95. Optimistic. Caring. A steady warrior. A man of faith. A man who loved his wife with passion. Doug was an activist for social justice, for good government right here in this village. Kind, funny, warm. A hugger.

Doug was a one-man connector. He knitted and glued people and causes and neighbors together in a way we don’t ever recall and fear we will not see again.

Godspeed to this great man.

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