Here is a letter I wrote to my city’s mayor, the city council, and the Chief of Police. Well, actually to the police commander of the Office of Professional Standards because I couldn’t find an email address for the chief. He’s on Twitter, but apparently not email.
I pledge to continue to strive to be an ally. I pledge to continue to strive to be antiracist. This is one small step.
Dear Mayor Chirico, City Council, and Chief of Police Marshall,
My family lives in the Stillwater subdivision, just a couple blocks from Welch Elementary and Cantore Park where racist graffiti was sprayed. We appreciate that the structure was quickly covered and then repainted. We are also grateful for your recently-passed resolution that “denounces all acts of racism, intolerance and unlawful discrimination and will not tolerate them of any kind.”
However, so much has happened since that resolution was passed. Whomever placed that white supremacist message in our park wants to terrorize our neighbors of color. And make no mistake: this neighborhood is blessed with racial diversity. Our children have experienced this wonderful diversity in their classes at Welch Elementary and Scullen Middle School. Reporting by the Chicago Tribune confirms their experience: “48% of Welch students are Asian, 31% are white, 9% are black, 8% are Hispanic, 3% are mixed race and 1% are American Indian.”
This morning I feverishly scoured your websites and Twitter feeds for any kind of statement condemning the racist murder of George Floyd, the racist arrest of journalist Omar Jimenez and his crew, or the racist violence perpetrated upon communities of color — and especially directed at black communities — over and over again across our country.
I found no such statements anywhere — not even a posting of the new resolution. If I missed them, and that certainly is a possibility, I would very much appreciate being directed to any statements condemning racism you made yesterday or today.
You are the elected and appointed leaders of our community. Now is the time to put the words of that excellent resolution into concrete action. Naperville needs to know that all of you are committed to antiracist attitudes and actions. Naperville needs to know that our Chief of Police and his entire department are committed to just treatment of persons of color. Naperville needs its leaders to do just that: lead. Lead with your voice and your actions. Speak boldly and publicly so our city knows that racism is not tolerated in our police department or our government. Lead. Be proactive. Tell us what you are doing — what actual actions you are taking — to be antiracist.
I have never met any of you personally. Yet, your willingness to serve in these public roles tells me that, like me, you love this city and want Naperville to be the best it can be for all its citizens. Right now your city needs you to be boldly and publicly antiracist.
I look forward to your response.
The Rev. David Buerstetta