different governing body and one does not typically respond to another. He
had requested this Item be removed from the Consent Agenda as racial
equity has no jurisdiction. He said he perceives the values of the Village
Board are to walk a path of racial equity which are being done through
action--hiring a Chief DEI Officer; funding a community-wide racial equity
assessment; implementing a racial equity analysis on future Board
policies; and committing time from staff, consultants, Trustees, and funding
to build a more racially equitable Oak Park.
Diversity, inclusion, racial equity, and racial justice are core values of this
Board and this Village. He said it would be inconsistent with our Board
goals and actions and his personal values to grant $1M to an organization
that has created harm and is out of line with this Board's values.
Representation recognizes harm and uses its voice, platform, and power to
remedy it. Representation is not afraid to do the right thing, stand in
authenticity of the impact, and demand better. He said he is keenly aware
that he represents folks who feel marginalized, unwelcome, and have
experienced harm in this Village and they depend on his voice to express
their pain and outrage and create change to improve their experiences.
He said he is justifiably outraged by the actions that make his statement
necessary and he still seeks a restorative path forward. Until that happens,
he will not vote yes for this Item.
Trustee Robinson said she thinks there are parallel issues of addressing
the course offering and the appropriate response to the impact it's had on
the community, which is within the purview of PDOP; and this ARPA
request, which is within the purview of this Village Board. She read from the
ARPA report on the White House's website on the purpose of the ARPA
funds. She said she thinks it's critical to acknowledge that while we are all
facing the same storm, we are not in the same boat. She said she thinks
the Village Board needs to take some time with this decision and be really
thoughtful in light of the events over the past week, particularly with this
ARPA request that was steeped in racial equity language.
She said she thinks it makes sense to pause this decision and give space
to the community impact and harm; give PDOP some time for further
responsiveness if they choose; and spend time as a Village Board
assessing what our role may be with our DEI resources in support of
PDOP and be collaborative in moving forward with DEI goals which is part
of our own work.
Trustee Enyia agreed with Trustee Wesley's points based on what he has
heard from community members and his own feelings in trying to
understand where that statement came from and the double down on it. He
said it puts the Village Board in a peculiar situation because it shows
organizational missteps and how do you rebound from harming an entire