In his “One View” in last week’s Viewpoints, John Duffy states “On Aug. 6, Tribune reporter Lizzie Kane in her article, ‘New challenges,’ presented a lengthy narrative of how key Oak Park community and village officials … are confronting disturbing threats to Oak Park’s historic mission to be a racially and culturally diverse, inclusive, and equitable place to live and go to school” and that he wanted to offer additional perspective and data.
He concludes by saying, “When our village, township, park district, libraries and schools are in sync on how to achieve diversity, equity, and inclusion, we will have a greater chance to live up to the village vision so many have worked to realize since the 1960s.”
I would like to offer additional perspective and data to Mr. Duffy. The following are Oak Park population percentage statistics from the respective U.S. Censuses:
Two or More Races:
So what conclusions can we draw from this data? First, there has been a dramatic drop in Oak Park’s white population. Second, there has been a small but maybe significant drop in our Black population. Third, there is a steady increase in our Asian population. Fourth, there has been a significant increase in our Hispanic population, more than doubling in the last 10 years. Finally, there has been a dramatic increase in the multiracial (two or more) population of Oak Park.
What all this means is that, as of the 2020 Census, our village, township, park district, libraries and schools have now achieved more diversity and inclusion than at any time in their past and are well on their way to realizing the vision they established for themselves since the 1960s.
While I do not dismiss the issues with Oak Park’s Black population raised in Mr. Duffy’s “One View” article, I challenge him to accept the success of Oak Park’s diversity and inclusion (Asian, Hispanic, and Multiracial) success stories. And those Census Racial categories do not even touch upon the fact that “Oak Park, Illinois is considered to be one of the most gay friendly suburbs of Chicago. The village has a long history of being inclusive and welcoming to the LGBTQ community.” (SDLGBTN.com, Dec. 21, 2022).
If Mr. Duffy wants to write about Blacks in Oak Park, he should write about Blacks in Oak Park. He should not write about lack of diversity or inclusion in Oak Park.
The website for the Census data for 1990 and 2020 is Census.gov. For 2000 and 2010 it is Infoplease.com.
Alan E. Krause