Dear Community ...

A message from the mayor

Opinion: Columns

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter

Anan Abu-Taleb

One view

I hope you and your loved ones are staying safe in these unsettled times.

Thank you — for staying at home, for avoiding unnecessary contacts and for changing your behavior so we can preserve and save lives from the threat we continue to face. 

Like you, I wonder if I washed my hands enough, if I distanced myself enough, and if I am doing my full part to slow the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve. And what is enough?

This virus may be new, but the effective way to respond to it isn't: Social-distancing is the most effective way to respond. But how much is enough social-distancing? We know from science and experience that you can't cheat, not even a little! No neighbors or guests over, no dinners/drinks with a friend, no unnecessary trips to the grocery store. If anyone in your household puts themselves at risk, everyone in the house is at risk. The right reaction is not overreaction.

We have lost precious time to prepare for this war. Here are the facts: We were slow to recognize the scope and severity of the virus in our country; we lack an adequate supply of personal protective equipment for our health workers; we lack a sufficient number of test kits to diagnose those who are infected; and we lack designated areas to isolate those who test positive for COVID-19.

Like you, I am worried for my own family, friends, and of course, the health, safety and vitality of the members of our community. As mayor, my highest duty is to protect the health and the safety of our community. This is why I am writing to everyone.

In the 1918 flu pandemic, cities that ordered social-distancing sooner and for longer periods flattened the curve, lowered the overall death rate, and shortened the time before life was able to safely return to normal. This is science and what history teaches us. COVID-19 is new but the effective, lifesaving way to respond isn't.

As a child, I grew up in a war zone. In war you hear the soldiers, tanks, planes, and bombs, and you smell the gunfire. You see the smoke, the pain and the bloodshed. This war is very different — silent and invisible, but no less deadly.

This virus does not rest, it does not follow a schedule, and most of all it does not discriminate in choosing its victims. Each and every one of us is at risk. 

 And in this war people are going to lose their loved ones — more people will get sick and some will die. We may get discouraged and may think the measures we are taking are not working or they've gone on long enough. This would be surrendering the progress we've made so far in the early days of our battle and would give the virus more victims to attack. 

I urge everyone to stay committed and unified. We are saving lives by adhering to strict social-distancing and following the public health guidelines. Flattening the curve is the most effective way to respond. It provides time for development of a vaccine, lessens the strain on our health workers and health system, and enables us to win the war against this invisible killer.

Let us keep in our thoughts and prayers those who have contracted this disease, as well as all the health workers and first responders. Those are the true heroes; they risk their lives to protect ours.

Understand that we will face very difficult times in the coming weeks. We have the capacity to care for one another and we need to do just that. Let us be kind to each other and let us have faith. I am confident that we are going to get through this together, emerge stronger, and live to tell stories of courage, resilience and compassion.

Anan Abu-Taleb is mayor of the village of Oak Park.

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

1 Comment - Add Your Comment

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

Comment Policy

Richard Willis from Oak Park  

Posted: April 5th, 2020 8:15 PM

Mayor Abu-Taleb thank you for the leadership demonstrated during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The residents of Oak Park are fortunate to have you as its Mayor

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