The struggle for our humanity requires bravery

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter

Monday night, the Village Board of Trustees ripped away the ability of people of color in our community to feel human. They did so by not moving to vote for the second version of the Community Relations Commission's "Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion" statement. Three trustees drafted their own version of a statement and added it to the agenda last night, several hours before the board meeting. This process is reminiscent of the Albion vote of several years ago with background conversations that the community was not privy to until this new version of the statement appeared on the agenda in the late afternoon.

I know I've only just joined the board, and may not know all the processes and procedures involved in bringing things to the board table. But I do know this — the work the CRC did was work that was requested by the village board at the May 6 board meeting. The CRC has worked tirelessly for months, led robust community conversations, and brought a revised statement to the board last night.

The board wants a consensus vote on this statement. It is my understanding that when the village passed the Fair Housing Ordinance in May 1968, the board wasn't unified and the ordinance passed with a 5-2 vote. This is the same ordinance that we now love to point to as a North Star to show people that Oak Park values diversity and inclusion. Consensus isn't required when equity is at stake. Comfortability isn't required when equity is at stake. A simple recognition of the humanity of people of color is all that is required in this situation. A recognition that even though specific individuals may not understand the systems of oppression that exist, there is still a need to break down those systems and create equal chances for all people in Oak Park.

To my fellow trustees, you don't need to feel comfortable with this statement to vote on it. You need to hear the pain of people of color in our community and vote. Feel the pain our children experience every day at our schools and vote. Feel that pain, and let it move you to do the right and brave thing — even when it is difficult — especially when it is difficult, and vote on the CRC's new version of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion statement. Be brave and recognize the humanity of people of color in our diverse community.

Arti Walker-Peddakotla 


See Ken Trainor's column on the Diversity Statement, page 34.

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