In heated debate, Oak Park adopts diversity statement

Vote is unanimous on substantially updated statement

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By Stacey Sheridan

Staff Reporter

Oak Park Village Board members have been at odds since April over what has traditionally been the ritual post-election re-adoption of the village's diversity statement. Finally, Monday night, after a discussion laden with racially charged dramatics and contention among trustees, the board unanimously approved a new version of the statement which had been crafted by the Community Relations Committee (CRC). 

Disagreements over the diversity statement started before the new language was even introduced. Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb suggested, in the interest of time, addressing the diversity statement discussion at a later meeting, as 10 p.m. was quickly approaching. At this, Trustee Arti Peddakotla-Walker let out a loud laugh. 

 "People have been waiting here for the entire meeting" to discuss the diversity agenda, Peddakotla-Walker said. "Maybe we should have moved it to the beginning of the agenda, but we purposefully put it at the end."

The meeting continued with an intense discussion of semantics related to previous concerns from Trustee Dan Moroney and Trustee Deno Andrews over use of the term "systems of oppression." That discussion led to an intense outburst by Trustee Susan Buchanan who questioned why white male trustees were offering opinions on the wording of the diversity statement.

"I am so tired of hearing two white men tell us what systems of oppression are!" said Buchanan to applause from the audience. "For Christ's sake, no! You don't know what systems of oppression are; you haven't been oppressed," she said. "This is like if you guys wanted to tell us what it's like to have a menstrual cycle. You don't know what you're talking about."

She added, "You have not spent a day with dark brown skin and tried to walk through this society. From birth, you have been white. Why are you arguing what is a system of oppression? You've never experienced one, so shut up!"

Buchanan went on to tell Andrews and Moroney that they are not oppressed, but others in Oak Park are. 

"This mayor and this board are obviously not willing to face history," she said. "It is time for this community to face equity."

To Andrews, Buchanan said, "You stop it. You are a white male!" 

When the mayor, a native of Palestine, tried to intervene, Buchanan told him, "Your skin is white enough!"

Moroney responded saying that when it comes down to elected white males being told they can't have an opinion "that we're not doing this right."

In the earlier discussion over language in the statement, Andrews said overall, he "loved" the CRC diversity statement, but wanted to edit one sentence prior to adoption.

"My only real proposal is to change the second sentence in the second paragraph," he said. That sentence reads, "By embracing equity, with an explicit but not exclusive focus on racial equity, we work to break down systems of oppression and achieve a society where race no longer determines one's outcomes; where everyone has what they need to thrive."

Andrews proposed to clarify the language "break down systems of oppression." He suggested replacing that sentence with, "By embracing equity with an explicit, but not exclusive focus on racial equity, we work to eliminate racism, sexism, homophobia, and xenophobia and all other forms of hate."

Trustee Simone Boutet did not agree with Andrews idea to take out "systems of oppression" and supported the CRC statement completely. 

In lieu of using "systems of oppression", Moroney suggested using the term's definition. Moroney was concerned the police department was being construed as a system of oppression. 

Peddakotla-Walker then suggested that, due to the late hour, people weren't using their best judgment.  

With a laugh, Buchanan asked her, "Are you the even keeled one now?"

The board finally agreed to add language to clarify the meaning of "systems of oppression." Boutet asked that the word bias be added to the sentence related to eliminating hate. 

The board then voted quickly and unanimously to accept the CRC version of the diversity statement.

In a public comment prior to the board discussion, Cate Readling, community outreach coordinator at the Park District of Oak Park, told the board she was speaking in support of the CRC version of the diversity statement. "It was the only version created by a diverse group of people," Readling said. 

According to Readling, the CRC used a multi-step process that included input from the community and racial equity experts to develop its version. 

John Duffy, chairperson of the Committee for Equity & Excellence in Education, said the village board had fallen behind in promoting equity. "The schools have taken over that role," he said. "They haven't hired experts; they've gone to the community." 

According to Duffy, Oak Park schools have implemented racial equity policies and procedures. "It's time for this board to move," he said. "You're behind the times."

He urged the board to adopt the revised CRC diversity statement. He called two issues the board addressed earlier in the meeting – trick-or-treating hours and teenage e-cigarette usage – "painful."

"Racializing trick-or-treating! Running the black kids back to the West Side, that's what that's all about," Duffy said. "It upsets me."

Duffy also said that, while the intentions behind giving citations to children for smoking to prevent addiction are good, the history behind it is completely racialized. 

"It's at the heart of inequity, the criminal justice system," he said. Racial equity is all about examining the impact decisions have on other people, which Duffy said, the schools are doing, and the village board needs to follow suit. 


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Reader Comments

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Nick Polido  

Posted: October 21st, 2019 8:57 AM

The irony of all this given Ms. Buchanan's 'RUDE?" behavior is this community votes solidly with the corrupt politicians that fail to represent the interests of their citizens. Toni Preckwinkle fundraising with Bill Burke and Illinois Chief justice Anne Burke while their son is employed at the county, Dorthy Brown perpetually under federal investigation , Don Harmon enriching his law firm with state business and the questionable Cinespace Chicago Film Studios sweetheart deal , Illinois Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford saying that the recent federal raids on Sandovals officehome should not have to step down from the powerful transportation committee and lastly the elected leader , Chairperson of the democratic party Michael Madigan who ignored a staff complaint of unwanted advances on this young women only to have her shoved aside. If you want to scream down individuals that our failing this state and the underprivileged by absconding with precious dollars this list could go on.....

Jason Cohen  

Posted: October 20th, 2019 9:00 AM

@Kevin, there are like 20-30 actual residents posting on here so let's not pretend this board somehow represents OP with its 55k+ residents. I have talked to several people that believe in her message and also think she was rude but that's it so let's all stop pretending we have some info about what the entire community wants please. You also have no proof at all that people in the room were some staged group or something. Should supporters not come to meetings? This happens on all sides of any big issue people are passionate about. This forum hardly represents OP. It's mostly the same people posting over and over and now a bunch of trolls from outside OP thanks to the national coverage.

Kevin Peppard from Oak Park  

Posted: October 20th, 2019 1:14 AM

As I said before, the scary thing about the meeting was the applause Susan Buchanan received from some people. Various folks have described them as "trolls", but that's an Internet term. They're shills, meant to make her and her colleague Arti Walker-Peddakotla appear to have more support than they actually do. One of the other times that happened was when the Board considered the Minimum Wage Ordinance. One of the "speakers" was someone who admitted he no longer lived in Oak Park. In one of his blogs he stated that when he did, it was in his grandmother's basement, not exactly permanently attached to the community. He proceeded, in a profane spewing of a rant, said he had worked at Anan Abu-Taleb's restaurant, and hated it. He vowed to move back to Oak Park to run against him for Village President, if the the vote was against the ordinance. In another matter, that of the Village allowing night football lighting (where the stadium is in Oak Park, and subject to its approval for lights), one of the leaders of the loud cheering section was the owner of a well-known hardware store. He lives in River Forest, where that Village disallowed Dominican University to have night-lighted tennis courts -- a "not in my backyard"" example. But the disorder and commotion that creates for neighbors doesn't matter if it's in someone else's village. The point is that pressure groups can pack the Board meetings, and the Trustees have to adjust for that. Do those applauders represent the bulk of Oak Parkers? Not by judging from the comments in this forum.

Brian Slowiak  

Posted: October 15th, 2019 12:33 PM

Is it to late to manufacture Dr. Susan Buchanan masks for Halloween?

Christopher Bell  

Posted: October 11th, 2019 7:39 PM

@ John. ok Ill take the bait .. Please review Warren plan for free school for all and free health care and housing. Those plans will almost certainly guarantee that Trump will win. Polling shows that a vast majority of Americans don't want government to be too far reaching nor tax them more to help others. The middle class is under great duress - and half the people on this board kids will no maintain middle class in their life times... BUT they still believe in upward mobility (and against too much in taxes). The Republican party as it has been known is dead.

John Griffin  

Posted: October 11th, 2019 7:28 PM

Note to Christopher Bell...The DNC has not gone radical left, the Republican party has gone looney tunes to the right, so maybe it seems that way to you. What do Democrats push for? We think health care for all in one form or another is a birthright. Obamacare (first proposed by Republican Bob Dole & enacted by Mitt Romney in Massachusetts, BTW), was a start in the right direction. Most other developed countries around the world have it, so should we. We demand that the US take the lead on climate change, which is very real and will decimate the planet in the foreseeable future if we stop pretending it's not happening. We think that saving lives is infinitely more important than protecting guns. Maybe that seems crazy and radical, I don't know, but you'd think that in light of one mass shooting after the next, perhaps we'd do something of substance to cut the flow of firearms and ammunition in this country, especially the assault rifles. We believe in equality for all -- race, creed, color, religion, gender, orientation. The Declaration of Independence mentions that "all men are created equal" with "certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." After all, we're a country of immigrants. We believe that corporate welfare is not a particularly good thing for America, and that the new "tax reform" bill only serves the wealthiest people in the country. In general, Democrats see America as part of the global community in one way or another -- that we're all in this together. The Republicans think that the world ends at the Atlantic and Pacific shorelines... and especially at the Mexican border. Democrats believe that we're stronger as a group than we are as individuals, that a fist is more powerful than a finger. To Republicans, it's every man for himself; I've got mine, and screw you if you don't; the individual is more important than the team. Oh, and by any description, the guy in the White House is a modern-day fascist.

Christopher Bell  

Posted: October 11th, 2019 7:02 PM

Leave this woman alone ... yes, she was rude and aggressive in her behavior but who has not been emotional and said or done things we regret. Clearly she is drinking the OP kool aid and cares (god only know why subject yourself to being on the board). Perhaps we practice some of those good ole Christian values we discuss. Like her, I once went on a tirade with a sports program in OP (about lack of diversity on board). They did everything possible to hurt me and my kids .. like this, egos were hurt. The cold hard reality is there were elements of truth in what she said. Until you have been spit on, punched/assualted, call the N word and to stay out of a place, had people lock doors when you walk by (all happended to me) etc. you will never know what it REALLY means to be black. You can empathize certainly but it is not the same... lets move on before she becomes bitter and angry with the very village she is trying to help.

Bert Fischer  

Posted: October 11th, 2019 4:28 PM

If only there was a statement... a diversity statement..that was a guide for our trustees to use to conduct themselves and make sure they see everyone's point of view. Then none of this would ever have happened.

Christine Vernon  

Posted: October 11th, 2019 2:24 PM

This 1st outburst of Trustee Buchanan, is it characteristic or not? A woman/doctor could contribute diversity and invaluable expertise to the Board. Had people earlier seen her insulting outburst at one gender/one race, it would have likely derailed her candidacy. Speaking to and about ANYONE in the demeaning/disrespectful way she did, shouting "Shut up!" is damning behavior for a public servant . Trustee Buchanan, is it your intention to champion one race over another? Equity means respect for every person. Do you not have a white father, white brothers, or a white son that you love? Would you want anyone speaking to them the way you spoke to Trustees Andrews and Moroney. Your white male-bashing went nationwide for God and all to see. Race-baiting is wrong when used against any group of people. I appreciate Tommy McCoy's comments. Yes, Stacey Sheridan, did a great job reporting the meeting. McCoy also wrote "I am requesting that board members conduct themselves with respect towards other board members. If you need to draw up a code of honor and respect to do it, then draw it up.." Citizens and the Board need to do as he suggests. Define the expectations of Board members conduct clearly to them and OP voters. If the candidate can't deliver or doesn't like the job, or finds it too much, he/she can voluntarily resign, or voters can relieve them of responsibility in the next election. We all make mistakes, it's what follows that counts. Two things need to be done now. Buchanan's behavior needs to be formally censured by the Board formally denouncing that kind of behavior by an elected official. If Dr. Buchanan takes responsibility for her actions, she needs to apologize to 1) Trustees Deno Andrews and Dan Moroney for the unwarranted personal and judgemental attack she unleashed on them. 2) She needs to apologize to the Board for hi-jacking an important deliberation. And, 3) She needs to apologize to Oak Parkers for not serving the best interests of our community.

Jim Frenkel  

Posted: October 11th, 2019 1:35 PM

Wow-- this dialogue is still going strong! To those who argue that censure of some kind is not needed, and support their position by saying "she was emotional, haven't we all been emotional about things" and by saying "what's wrong with this, Trump has done this" (which I'm convinced is actually hurting their argument), I say, please stop using false equivalencies-- i.e. something being equal to something it really isn't. Yes, we all have been emotional about things we care about. But, more to the point, most of us have not done this in such a blatantly disrespectful way, in a public setting, as an elected leader and example to others. As I said before, this kind of conduct would NEVER be acceptable in our everyday workplaces, whether dealing with our co-workers, direct reports, or bosses. Nor would we want our kids doing this when trying to promote dialogue and solving problems in our schools with each other or with their teachers, regardless of the position being argued.

Tom MacMillan from Oak Park  

Posted: October 11th, 2019 12:25 PM

A "debate" is a formal discussion. This was a "shouting match", but even then, only one person was shouting. Instead of "heated", perhaps the Wednesday Journal could have used "Deranged", as in wild or aggressive.

James Matthew Thayer  

Posted: October 11th, 2019 10:40 AM

If you truly didn't care what "white males" had to say then you'd have zero rights to vote (suffrage was voted in by mostly white men), we certainly wouldn't have ended slavery (most of the men who fought against the Confederacy were white, including Lincoln), we wouldn't have defeated the Nazis (Eisenhower, Truman, FDR, and Churchill were all White Males, along with the majority of Allied troops). Do you enjoy electricity? Thomas Edison was a white male. What about an interstate highway system? Eisenhower again. How about national parks? Teddy Roosevelt - a white male. You strike me as the type of person who likes abortion. Did you know it was legalized by a group of 9 white men? Could it be, after rubbing two brain cells together, that you might come to the conclusion good ideas come from people of all walks of life? That the truth of something doesn't depend upon the color of skin the speaker possesses? Could it be we've known this for thousands of years? I wonder if there is a word for it? Oh, right, an ad-hominem, which is a logical fallacy. Could it also be that your type of thinking and vitriol has caused a breakdown in society and a reversal in race/sex relations over the past couple decades? Just food for thought.

Frederick Stevens from River Forest  

Posted: October 11th, 2019 10:35 AM

You want more Trump? Because lots of people are viewing this now-viral video, which seems to confirm every suspicion about progressives being arrogant, hectoring totalitarians. That's how you get more Trump. Get yourself together, Dr. Buchanan.

Jason Cohen  

Posted: October 11th, 2019 8:33 AM

The whole idea of removing Buchanan from office is silly. She was elected on a platform of racial equity and I am sure feels like she has to push hard for what she believes in. Was she rude and could her language have been better sure but she hardly did anything serious enough to be removed from office. Do you think those that voted for her would want her removed because of this? I highly doubt it. She got emotional about something that's very important to her. Nobody here has done that? The President literally does this a dozen times a day and he's still allowed to stay in office. At worst some were insulted by her actions. They are all adults. I am sure they can handle it.

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: October 10th, 2019 11:50 PM

I want to thank Stacy for doing a fantastic job reporting for the Wednesday Journal. which is supported by video. That makes a terrific reporter and a better newspaper. Demanding the resignation of Buchanan, I would lean towards what Bruce Kline has written, because once you take that action, it could mean anytime you disagree with a board member, that board member could be removed and you loose freedom of expression. As for a board of adult's trying to agree on terminology to be used in what I will consider a proclamation about equity and race, I really do not think the board members have experienced much outside of their own race to have observational experience although I may be wrong. Maybe if board members did, they would be better versed for the people they want to speak for or maybe Buchanan may want to give up her seat for a person of color who would surely have more knowledge of what it is to be a person of color. How much effort and willingness are white people in a middle to upper class town really willing to give up for their belief is some thing to consider. Soldier 's are willing to give up their life for what they believe in. In a board meeting, I would expect more professionalism and I am requesting that board members conduct themselves with respect towards other board members. If you need to draw up a code of honor and respect to do it, then draw it up.. I have spent my life never accepting a racial slur and there were plenty when I moved to Oak Park. I had a person in the Military who I thought was my friend. Early morning incoming rockets, he gets up along with others and after things settle down, he draws down. on me with his M16. I look at him not as a man of any race, I looked at him as a man under stress while others surely could have added in racial slurs. I was a teenager and was more of an adult than an adult at a board meeting. Be that adult

Bruce Kline  

Posted: October 10th, 2019 9:57 PM

Bryan. OK. What then is the mechanism? In California recall is not unheard of. It is clearly doable. In Illinois I am told it is legally doable but practically impossible. So tell me exactly what does "removal immediately" look like? Other than Dr. Buchanan volunteering to step down - which is highly unlikely - I can't imagine what "removal" (in the absence of a true crime) operationally means.

Bryan Rekarson from OP  

Posted: October 10th, 2019 9:33 PM

Bruce, I generally agree with you, but unfortunately she displayed an egregious lack of sound judgment, irrational behavior, and reprehensible remarks that place into question her ability to function in that position for the constituents of the Village.

Bruce Kline  

Posted: October 10th, 2019 9:08 PM

Dr. Susan "Psycho" Buchanan. Uncivil? Check. Sexist? Check. Racist? Check. BUT, she won an election, fair and square. There is no law requiring a duly elected official behaving or speaking in an "official" or a "proscribed" manner. Hey, not even hate speech is proscribed. The final arbiter of whether an elected official should be removed IMHO should remain with the electorate. Dr Buchanan as a representative of the people does in fact speak for a certain constituency in this town. That is undeniable. One would have to be delusional to think otherwise. That is what representatives are supposed to do. How they do it, is largely up to them. As such the remedy to correct such "errors" as Dr. Buchanan, remains in my view, the ballot box. In the next election do not elect candidates who are sympathetic to her rants. Elect candidates who are civil and speak of unity amongst diversity rather than divisiveness and race baiting. And finally, if the good doctor chooses to run again, do not vote for her. In the mean time, continue to speak up - as we are doing. But extra electoral removal (short of actual crimes) of duly elected representatives is a dangerous game ... which can ultimately back fire.

Bryan Rekarson from OP  

Posted: October 10th, 2019 8:26 PM

To be clear, I don't want an apology from Buchanan. I don't want penance or atonement. She needs to be removed immediately from that position if she doesn't volunteer her own resignation at the next meeting. The behavior captured on video is despicable and reprehensible. Bert is absolutely knocking it out of the park on this thread by the way.

Kelly Bacon Desmarais  

Posted: October 10th, 2019 8:19 PM

Thank you, Susan Buchanan. Your cringeworthy rant did nothing but make you look like an emotional basket case who isn't fit for any leadership position in our community. The "menstrual cycle" comment was especially over the top and unnecessary. She's making history all right, just not the way she intended, I'm sure. Please do the people in our community a favor and step down. Not only are you sexist and racist, you made it very clear that you're not capable of civil discourse.

Ruth Lazarus  

Posted: October 10th, 2019 7:36 PM

@Christine: One of the challenges of discussing issues with strangers online is how vulnerable we are to misunderstandings. I am sorry for your loss, (have also worked closely with parents who have lost a child), and generally agree with what you said about the impact of this president on civil discourse, although alot of this was already happening before he ever ran. I didn't intend to minimize how much anyone here cares about victims of violence, which obviously I can't know, and thought I was only speaking for myself, responding to what I feel is a disproportionate response to Ms. Buchanan's outburst. I'm not sure why it's OK to share the view that she should resign, and it's not OK to share a different view, but I'll leave it at that.

Bert Fischer  

Posted: October 10th, 2019 7:30 PM

Bruce, I should clarify that this is unified only by Oak Park standards. We have to remember who is going to these meetings and clapping. Though there are a lot of descent civilized people in attendance, there are also a group of devoted kool aid drinkers with nothing but time on their hands. I can't see it but I'm guessing that was the applause of a dozen people. Make no mistake about it, Arti runs a cult and they show up. That cult is powerful when there are 11 candidates running for three seats. She barely squeaked by in that scenario, so they certainly aren't the majority. There is also a much larger group that likes the politics of Arti and Buchanan but are more likely to see how ridiculous this type of behavior is. Buchanan lost votes Monday from people who voted for her the first time just because she isn't a competent politician.. If this wasn't enough crazy for people to wake up, we are probably doomed anyway.

Robert Royals  

Posted: October 10th, 2019 7:26 PM

I think we need to consider a Walk of Atonement with Tom MacMillan presiding as High Sparrow.

Bruce Kline  

Posted: October 10th, 2019 6:41 PM

Shawn. You make an excellent point which totally escaped me. Dr. Buchanan is indeed a total hypocrite. There were indeed several well qualified POC who she ran against and beat. But I guess the good doctor was acting under the old colonial "wihteman's burden" philosophy and felt she could do a better job of representing POC than POC could. What an outright pompous hypocritical attitude. And Bert, please don't go "full monty" and say how unified we all are on this. As Kevin Peppard pointed out earlier, there was a whole lot of applause from the gallery in support of Dr. Buchanan's crazed rantings.

Bert Fischer  

Posted: October 10th, 2019 5:43 PM

I've never seen Oak Park so unified on a single issue as they are on what to do with Buchanan. No one has come to this lady's defense in these comments or from what I have seen in the actual village because how she acted is indefensible. And it is perfectly illustrated by the juvenile attempts of two people on this comment thread using the tactic of trying to get us to look away "there are more important things, comment on the murder in Chicago article". Shawn is right. There is a perfect win-win situation for everyone. Buchanan steps down, Anan appoints Wesley. He almost won a seat anyway. Buchanan is just not fit for public office. If she truly believed what she was screaming about , what would be better than a person of color being on the board so we can get a first hand account of what being black in Oak Park is like? The problem is she doesn't believe what she says. Her motives are selfish. She is only driven by hate. The same goes for Arti. The deeper they get into this, the more apparent that will become. They can't hide it. There is so much hate inside it will continue to explode out in ways like we saw on Monday. There are perfectly competent women and people of color who should replace them before more harm is done.

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: October 10th, 2019 5:23 PM

Watched the video posted of Buchanan's rant and read about it in the Wednesday Journal, and with her experience I thought she knew what it really is to be oppressed until I noticed that she has white privilege without every having any skin of color. I know Oak Park has changed, and I have no idea how anyone who can not control their temper can be in control of anything that effects the lives of other's. Maybe it is time that people should qualify if they really can handle pressure and work through problems with others while still maintaining composure. It takes a certain mind set to be able to do it and regardless what excuse you want to make to say this type of action is acceptable, it is not

Shawn Kestler from Oak Park  

Posted: October 10th, 2019 3:47 PM

All people of OP should call for her resignation! She is an embarrassment to her constituents and our community. She uses sexism, racism and intimidation in the name of eliminating inequity in our Village? Ends do not justify the means. She complains of the lack of diversity on the Board, and white people's inability to represent the VOP on certain matters, yet ran an aggressive well-funded, well-organized campaign for Trustee against many qualified persons of color. Clearly, she is of the opinion that she knows better how to represent people of color in VOP than say...a person of color. Disgraceful! She should resign and let the candidate with the next most votes in the last election, a person of color btw, step in. That candidate would represent all our citizen's views equitably....even white males.

Corey Gimbel from Oak Park  

Posted: October 10th, 2019 3:45 PM

Now this story has hit the internet.

Dave Slade from Oak Park  

Posted: October 10th, 2019 11:30 AM

Thanks, Susan and Arti, for helping me choose who not to vote for in the next election.

Christine Vernon  

Posted: October 10th, 2019 10:00 AM

Speak for yourself, Ruth Lazarus, and not for the rest of us. Maybe you are more upset about one issue than another, but there are many disturbing things going on in society today, a combative atmosphere with our fellow citizens is only one of them. An example set by our President seems to have been adopted as commonplace in popular culture. You have no way of knowing how other people in this Village feel about a young life being lost. As a mother who has lost a child, I am involved with other parents who have lost children, and a number of them from street violence in Chicago, cases where their sons and daughters were innocent and randomly targeted victims. Two of those mothers asked me and others to support them during the trials of the murderer of their child and both resulted in convictions. It is horrifying how numb to what they have done the murderers were. The grief of the families is so damaging and immobilizing, impacting down generations of relatives. Every caring person I know feels deep compassion for these families and the tragedy they are suffering. Sometimes we can help, sometimes we can only offer or be present. For you to act like no one cares is to peddling ill will. It's not the truth, there are many people care deeply, your misrepresentation doesn't change that truth.

Jim Frenkel  

Posted: October 10th, 2019 9:51 AM

@Ruth, it's actually sad that you are minimizing others' concerns relative to your own-- as usual making yourself the center of this virtual discussion. No one is saying that a young teenager's senseless death is not a tragedy. What they are saying is that the Trump-like (I said it!) behavior of an elected leader of OP, which lists tolerance and diversity of opinion among its key values-- is absolutely unacceptable.

Ruth Lazarus  

Posted: October 10th, 2019 9:28 AM

@ Betsy Kelly, exactly. Sad that we are more upset about an elected official becoming upset at a board meeting, than a teenager getting shot to death. All this over three words, "systems of oppression." I guess we couldn't possibly have systems of oppression in Oak Park, because white people choose to live in Oak Park because of how not racist we are.

Christine Vernon  

Posted: October 10th, 2019 8:54 AM

Well, Dr. Buchanan, you have realized your dream of being instrumental in making history in Oak Park. You have given us the most arrogant and uncivilized outburst at a Village Board meeting in the recorded history of this Village. You have insulted, bullied and intimidated your fellow Board members, and stifled freedom of expression in the democratic process of our local government You have set yourself up as an expert on something you yourself are not an authority on... being oppressed. Your rant accomplished nothing other than defining you as a person and exposing your underlying hostility toward white males for a start, in addition to anyone who doesn't look at life through your same lens.

Betsy Kelly  

Posted: October 10th, 2019 7:45 AM

I don't usually bother to comment in this section, but it is sad to see everyone going back and forth on How Dr Buchanan behaved at a township meeting when another child in Austin was killed (the next article that was posted- with few comments) Let's all stop talking and do something about this inequity! Betsy Kelly

Bert Fischer  

Posted: October 10th, 2019 7:24 AM

For those that think she might resign or even apologize you can check out how completely unaware of how wrong she was in this news interview a couple days after

Christopher Bell  

Posted: October 10th, 2019 7:04 AM

If Oak Park is serious about addressing the gap, then the District 97 strategy needs overhall. Innovation and accountability would be required. First, start with the goal of making primary schools best in the state, then use data/innovation to better address gaps, hold teachers accountable and parents if not performing. Yes, some of the kids in college prep can bump up (1/3 perhaps) but many have no shot - if you really want to drive change needs to start much earlier.

Christopher Bell  

Posted: October 10th, 2019 6:50 AM

@ Kevin. I always enjoy your insightful comments. Oak Park, much like the DNC, has perhaps gone far too much to the left. Some of the ideas that schools can mandate fairness / equality are strong but we need to reasonable in expectations. Charity starts at home - as my mom says best helping hand is at end of your arm. If Oak PArk becomes too radical it will drive away some of the people who actually care/empathic to cause. Oak Park loves to "virtue signal" that it is helping but the reality is middle schools/parents are failing these kids - and likely dooming them to lifetime of poverty.

Kevin Peppard from Oak Park  

Posted: October 10th, 2019 3:06 AM

What is most salient about the video of Buchanan's tirade is that you can hear loud applause from some in the audience. There are people here who think this demagoguery is great stuff. She was, believe it or not, the top vote getter in April's election. Oak Park reminds me of Dostoyevsky's "The Possessed", sometimes translated as "Demons". It's about a small town in the pre-revolutionary Russian hustings, where people play at revolution, as if they're in Moscow or St. Petersburg, the big cities with universities and some semblance of culture. Just like Oak Park -- what with our symbolic-only Nuclear-Free Zone (a success, there have been no incidents) and the like, and where the two nearby colleges are bush league. Earth to Buchanan: Come back down, and take some Valium. You're a doctor, and can prescribe it for yourself..

Robert Zeh  

Posted: October 9th, 2019 9:37 PM

Anyone can have a bad night, and we should all cut each other some slack. The real test of Buchanan's character isn't an ill-advised late night rant, but what she does next. Will she apologize? When one of her fellow board members missteps, will she be as gracious to them as they were to her?

Bruce Kline  

Posted: October 9th, 2019 9:31 PM

Mr. Rekarson. Be careful what you wish for. I suspect many who make up the IDPR might agree that the good doctor -"may have had a bad night" - but on the other hand totally agree with her overall sentiments. As a physician myself I can assure you that identity politics, victim seeking behaviors, political correctness, redistribution, has infiltrated main stream medicine. Dr. Buchanan's sentiments - if not her virulence and vehemence - is shared - in my experience - by many other physicians.

Lisa Saxon Reed  

Posted: October 9th, 2019 9:20 PM

Pls join me in asking our OP Village Trustees: 1) To Breathe. Be Kind. Starting with Each Other. 2) To remember that every one of them has a right to be heard. All of them are our elected officials. 3) To live the core values from the village website..

Bryan Rekarson from OP  

Posted: October 9th, 2019 8:52 PM

Have we seen a formal resignation yet? Had a great conversation with some friends tonight. Several people on their block are discussing contacting the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation about this licensed medical practitioner and the psychotic behavior displayed. They've also downloaded the video using capture software in case the video accidentally "disappears". The IDPR site allows formal complaints to be made along with a text box where a link to the video can be included. Things look to get interesting beginning tonight. Also, as a Christian, I found her use of the Lord's name extremely tactless and disrespectful. Certainly nothing a son would be proud of.

Bruce Kline  

Posted: October 9th, 2019 8:44 PM

I agree Corey. With that in mind I think Dr. Buchanan would be outstanding in "Village Board" a new movie by Quentin Tarantino whereby a compassionate doctor - The Trustee - on a local small town Village Board goes psycho ... seeking revenge on the clueless paternalistic pale faced city fathers. This new movie will make the Bride (Kill Bill) look like a kindergartner when compared to our protagonist - THE Trustee. Or perhaps the good doctor can fill in for the Jack Nicholson role in the new updated remake of the Shining. In fact, judging from her psycho performance the other night, there are all sorts of possibilities here for our very own Susan "Psycho" Buchanan. A star is born. Indeed. Here in Oak Park.

Corey Gimbel from Oak Park  

Posted: October 9th, 2019 7:17 PM

Ummmm, errrr, uhhhh...... Well if these meetings are going to be this dramatic I think the Village should consider selling tickets going forward. Why not cash in while the cashing is good. Watching the video was instructive. From the perspective of a white guy who is overweight, over-educated, aging, a member of a religious minority, and a person who is OBVIOUSLY excessively privileged (funny I never had that reality driven home to me so vigorously before), I'm insulted and putting on a pout here. My wife is dying with laughter thinking I won't have the guts to post this. Haaaaaa..

Mary Jo Erickson from Oak Park   

Posted: October 9th, 2019 5:53 PM

I have not seen a display like that since I was in kindergarten.

Natalie Stein  

Posted: October 9th, 2019 5:31 PM

Oak Park is diverse and will all this racist hatred from people like Susan Buchanan never stop? Whites and others have been oppressed also and still are if, her and others really wants to be honest and stop playing the race card every time they want their way. I am sick of them and Oak Park with the games they are playing.

Susan Montgomery from Chicago  

Posted: October 9th, 2019 4:55 PM

I still read the Journal, even though I no longer live in the village. I watched the video of this meeting and am appalled at Dr. Buchanan's behavior. My thoughts are this: she was rude, unprofessional, irrational, and didn't allow her colleagues to speak. I agree with another writer's statement that, if the Village Board doesn't already have a statement in place regarding standards of behavior, it needs one. Dr. Buchanan's behavior was unacceptable and demeaning of her colleagues.

Michael Nevins  

Posted: October 9th, 2019 4:39 PM

The decline in civilization is preceded by a decline in civility. The good news is that my viewing of the entire board meeting showed that 5/7 members were mostly very good (A+ to B) and definitely much better than I could ever be.

Tom MacMillan from Oak Park  

Posted: October 9th, 2019 12:46 PM

Are people safe when attending Board meetings? The racist hatred on display by Susan Buchanan makes it unwelcoming to citizens to attend future meetings. If anyone dares to disagree, will they be attacked when leaving the meeting, walking tot their cars.

Bryan Rekarson from Op  

Posted: October 9th, 2019 12:08 PM

Absolutely reprehensible behavior by an elected public official. I'm calling for Susan Buchanan to step down immediately from her position. This is embarrassing behavior and borderline psychotic. Not allowing other trustees to speak because they are white men (she's a white woman by the way) and the offensive lecturing, the emotional outburst, the lack of reason....I'm embarrassed for the residents of Oak Park.

Alice Caputo  

Posted: October 9th, 2019 11:21 AM

Ms. Buchanan should apologize, resign and seek help on her mental health issues. If a white male acted this way toward an African American female he would be tarred and feathered.

Robert Royals  

Posted: October 9th, 2019 10:46 AM

Here's the video of Buchanan's sexist and racist attack on Trustee Moroney and Trustee Andrews.

Jim Frenkel  

Posted: October 9th, 2019 8:33 AM

This does beg the (unfortunate) question of whether the Trustees have some formally written standard of behavior or communication, the violation of which might lead to censure or something more drastic. Such standards are typical for any workplace in which citizens like you and I function and I would think would be standard for a medical "professional" like Buchanan who presumably deals with patients coming from different backgrounds than her own as a upper middle class, hetero white woman.

Jim Frenkel  

Posted: October 9th, 2019 8:16 AM

As evidenced in this op-ed piece she wrote here in the WJ shortly after her election, Buchanan has absolutely no interest in the opinion of others if they run counter to her already made up mind. How she got elected still eludes me.

Mikhail Ivanov  

Posted: October 9th, 2019 7:34 AM

Susan Buchanan has clearly shown herself to be a one woman "system of oppression." Unbelievable.

Bert Fischer  

Posted: October 8th, 2019 7:44 PM

Buchanan was telling people that their voice shouldn't be heard on an issue that involved a diversity statement thats entire purpose is to make sure everyone's voice is heard. If that is not insanity, I'm not sure what is.

Robert Royals from Oak Pak  

Posted: October 8th, 2019 7:26 PM

Quote from Buchanan in Wednesday Journal 2.19.19 "I am definitely part of the wave of angry women after the last [U.S. presidential] election that is seeking public office," she said. "I want to be one of the infiltrators." So in an " infiltrator" a racist and sexist? Most definitely a hypocrite. Her behavior is not becoming of a licensed medical professional.

Josh Vanderberg  

Posted: October 8th, 2019 7:04 PM

This is a representative democracy, we figure out who gets a say by holding a vote about who should have a say. Then those people get together and make decisions. Buchanan seems to favor some other system for determining who gets to make decisions, apparently not based on democratic traditions, but instead based genitals and skin color. Perhaps democracy is now a 'system of oppression'?

Robert Royals from Oak Pak  

Posted: October 8th, 2019 7:01 PM

Buchanan's attack on two good men clearly show that she is both racist and sexist.Imagine the response if Trustee Andrews or Trustee Moroney attacked her in similar fashion. Buchanan is a disgrace to the community and unfit to serve in any public capacity. She must immediately resign or the board needs to remove her. This type of behavior can not be tolerated in civil society.

Bert Fischer  

Posted: October 8th, 2019 5:19 PM

I too would like to learn more about this color scale test and how one becomes an authority of who is allowed to participate in the conversation. Mrs. Buchanan is a white female doctor so I am assuming she is in the club of the oppressed because she is a female? Do you only need to check the box once to be an authority of who has been oppressed or not oppressed? I thought maybe the mayor, being from the middle east and all would know about oppression but I guess I am wrong. Certainly no one has been oppressed more than Arti so it would be helpful if she could clear this all up for us so we can write a new diversity statement next week which lets us know which people we need to censor because of their lack of oppression.

Charlie Kohler from Oak Park  

Posted: October 8th, 2019 4:52 PM

Just so this is clear, an elected official told another that his skin was "white enough," so his input should be disregarded. I would like to better understand Dr Buchanan's color scale test of when inputs are valid.

Ramona Lopez  

Posted: October 8th, 2019 4:50 PM

Residents of Oak Park who have access to great libraries, public schools, healthcare, fresh food, a public transportation system that can get you to a hundreds of thousands of jobs in under an hour are oppressed? Rules for trick or treating is now viewed through a lens or oppression? MY GOD!!! Oak Parker's problems (murals, achievement gaps, halloween, etc.) are first world problems of an extremely privileged society. Believe me when I say that people in Venezuela, North Korea, Cuba and even Mexico would LOVE to have our "systems of oppression". 90% of the planet would trade places with the poorest person in Oak Park in a heartbeat. People walk hundreds of miles and risk their lives to have our "systems of oppression". People in Oak Park aren't oppressed. They have more opportunity within their grasp than not only most of the world but most Americans.

Nick Polido  

Posted: October 8th, 2019 4:50 PM

"Hate Has no Home Here" With the exception white males Ms. Buchanan?

Ramona Lopez  

Posted: October 8th, 2019 4:38 PM

Systems of oppression? I've lived in Oak Park for over 24 years and haven't experienced it yet. I guess migrating from Mexico where I grew up in a house with a dirt floor and the only source of heat was our stove, I have a different perspective of oppression than Ms. Buchanan.

Colin Taylor  

Posted: October 8th, 2019 3:10 PM

Buchanan yelling at our Gaza-born mayor that his "skin is white enough!" would seem to be satire; coming from a white elected official, it's shameful. What's the mechanism to impeach a trustee? This isn't acceptable behavior from a trustee.

Nick Polido  

Posted: October 8th, 2019 3:04 PM

"Our village needs courageous, pragmatic, enlightened leadership" Susan Buchanan (website) Susan Buchanan @ meeting: To Andrews, Buchanan said, "You stop it. You are a white male!" When the mayor, a native of Palestine, tried to intervene, Buchanan told him, "Your skin is white enough!"

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