Maywood, River Forest Twin Village Covenant comes to life

Community members in both suburbs met Oct. 17 to put Covenant to work

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter

By Michael Romain

Staff Reporter

This past summer, the village boards of Maywood and River Forest each unanimously approved the Twin Villages Covenant, which commits the neighboring suburbs "to the principles of humanity, equity and inclusion," according to a draft of the document. "The covenant will guide the overarching spirit of our distinct towns to think as one and to interact in more collaborative ways."

On Oct. 17, community members and elected officials from both suburbs gathered at Maywood Fine Arts, a nonprofit arts organization in Maywood, to talk about what that Covenant looks like in practice. 

Roughly 30 people were broken into groups of around five or six each to brainstorm ideas for collaboration and how the Covenant can become reality. The list of programmatic possibilities seemed endless — from a Broadway-style musical produced by members of both communities to joint Juneteenth celebrations to parades in honor of war casualties that would process through both villages. 

"I like the concept of examining our presuppositions always," said River Forest resident Johann Buis. "Tied to that is humility — mutual humility. As somebody once said, 'Think more highly of someone else than yourself.'" 

Buis and others said that for the Covenant to work in practice, the relationship between the suburbs that it helps build must be based on honest and open communication, transparency and democratic ("coming together as friends and neighbors, not based on a hierarchy"). 

Erika Bachner, the River Forest trustee, worked on the Covenant with Maywood Trustee Miguel Jones, who conceived of the initiative over the summer in the wake of civil unrest following George Floyd's murder in Minneapolis. 

The local officials said Saturday that getting buy-in from residents in the community will be critical to its success. 

"Although I spearheaded this, this is not something I want ownership over," Jones said. "What will make this sustainable is us getting buy-in." 

Maywood Mayor Edwenna Perkins and River Forest Mayor Cathy Adduci were both in attendance and expressed enthusiasm for the Covenant. 

"This is a historic moment for River Forest," Adduci said. "We're really excited." 

Shakan Kirksie, an Oak Park and River Forest special education teacher who grew up in Maywood with Trustee Jones, her younger brother, said that the Covenant will allow both villages to build some mutuality after years of alienation.

"We went to church in Forest Park, but even just driving through you always felt uneasy coming through [River Forest] and you shouldn't feel like that," said Kirksie, who now lives in La Grange. "There's so much that can go on between the two communities."

Maywood resident Dan Perkins, a member of the village's Chamber of Commerce who has been working with Bachner and Jones to flesh out the Covenant, drew a tentative outline of how the Covenant might be institutionalized. 

He said each village would create a task force responsible for developing a preliminary list of ideas and concepts. Those task forces would then merge into a joint task force that would hone in on more concrete and final ideas for collaboration The task forces would present to the village boards of Maywood and River Forest from time to time, he said. 

"The trustees of River Forest and Maywood would hear the concepts, review the concepts and ultimately, with the necessary revisions, support those initiatives going forward," Perkins said. 



Love the Journal?

Become our partner in independent community journalism

Thanks for turning to Wednesday Journal and We love our thousands of digital-only readers. Now though we're asking you to partner up in paying for our reporters and photographers who report this news. It had to happen, right?

On the plus side, we're giving you a simple way, and a better reason, to join in. We're now a non-profit -- Growing Community Media -- so your donation is tax deductible. And signing up for a monthly donation, or making a one-time donation, is fast and easy.

No threats from us. The news will be here. No paywalls or article countdowns. We're counting on an exquisite mix of civic enlightenment and mild shaming. Sort of like public radio.

Claim your bragging rights. Become a digital member.

Donate Now

Reader Comments

No Comments - Add Your Comment

Note: This page requires you to login with Facebook to comment.

Comment Policy

Facebook Connect

Answer Book 2019

To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2019 Answer Book, please click here.

Quick Links

Sign-up to get the latest news updates for Oak Park and River Forest.

MultimediaContact us
Submit Letter To The Editor
Place a Classified Ad

Classified Ad

Latest Comments