Welcome to Oak park, Il where even the Local high school is involved in racial suppression when it comes to freedom of speech. Organized as a day of remembrance for Trayvon Martin’s death on February 26th students marched as they wanted to exercise their first amendment rights. We have seen these countless times across the country recently with other protests. Whether it was about school shootings or to remember victims of injustice and of course you will get people outside the organizing body to support these actions in one way or the other.
In Oak Park, IL some faculty members actually supported the students in their efforts to protest and were placed on suspension. Now, Oak Park and River Forest High School can state that it is their prerogative to suspend these employees assisting in organizing the march although the School could have used this as a teaching moment to all sides of this issue as a way of peacefully voicing opposing viewpoints or just exercise (again) one’s First amendment rights. However, OPRF went to the extreme and went totally fascist on the assisting employees and suspended them. Now you may think that was the right thing to do however it was not.
All it did was add increased racial tension and divide into the school’s culture, great job school administration! Plus, it gave the Oak Park, IL community and now, River Forest, IL a worse black eye (no pun intended) as a community of racial intolerance ready to stomp out dissenting voices if you work for a system that is espousing views of tolerance however acting with a degree of bigotry. It also increased the school’s time in the local news, not due to the excellence of its academics but for racist graffiti, shit like this, etc. tearing down what possibly most residents move in the village for when they have kids: a reputable school (institution) for their kids to graduation from.
But, they are left with this mess of oppressing dogma, the students in solidarity of those staff that assisted them arranged a sit down to not only exercise their first amendment rights but to shine a light on this injustice as well. If OPRF is fine with silencing these employees who else or what else might this institution be willing to silence to keep things in order or “safe”. No, this is merely something that came to the light because students have had enough for how they are treated in Oak Park, IL. Looked down with suspicion, tinged with racist overtones, the students obviously had enough and most likely so did these employees.
The only reason one can possibly fathom that these employees would jeopardize their jobs is if they were subject to the same type or behavior from the residents of Oak Park, IL as these students. It is easier to support something that you can believe in if you have been impacted by it directly as well, something that was lost in this entire episode. Most possibly by the OPRF high school as well, considering how they operate, “teaching the minds of tomorrow” no wonder why Oak Park, IL is headed on a downward spiral. If these are the actions exhibited in comparison to the values (supposedly) championed by this community, if there is no grasp on reality of how things really are, there is hope, no future here, and then hate does have a home… here in Oak Park, IL
This is the article talking about the school putting employees administrative leave and the sit in that followed:
Here is article from a Chicago news outlet talking about the staged sit in even further and the other issues plaguing the school:
I was reading this candidate’s bio for the April 2nd election for Oak Park, IL and one of the main things that hit me was the fact she believed that racism was a main problem in the village of Oak Park, IL. Besides losing shared values and Economic classism these are three things that Oak Park, IL has shied away from facing. And to the point this candidate understands the overall decisions and attitude that Oak Park, IL has and has made impacts the village and the communities around them.
The truth is seeping out on how the established residents here, in their “open-mindedness” are really not as such. To see that others are speaking out about racism here in Oak Park, iL and running on eliminating it or fighting against it at least is refreshing. It is a shame that it would be someone that most residents would consider an outsider that is leading the fight to save Oak Park, IL from itself, save its values and how the rest of the area perceives it. In the end it is not words, or little signs in the front lawn that make an impact it is actually actions that do.
To have a candidate run upon changed the narrative on how Oak Park, IL defines itself speaks volumes. That Oak Park, IL may have a chance is reversing the downward spiral that it really is in. What Oak Park, IL does not want to become is a place or area that most of the area knows as a “place that you are not welcomed” if you are of color or anything else. What Oak Park, IL wants to become is a welcoming village that has values, affordable housing, affordable taxes, great parking, easy traffic and sensible government. Maybe this candidate can help start the conversation into that direction.
This is the candidate’s profile here:
The funny thing about the Oak Park, IL residents suiting against a project for affordable housing is that they are using regulations regarding height and parking/traffic restrictions for the area. The first thing you think of when residents sue against affordable housing when they state it would bring down the property values is blatant racist. The you look at he excuses they use “traffic” “parking” “construction height” etc. and in a way, you are like: “man they may have a point.
That’s if the height restrictions for the village was not set aside for all the construction near Lake and Harlem avenues and traffic in that area has just gotten worse. So really these excuses are bullshit. You may even state that Lake and Harlem is considered downtown Oak Park, IL and is different from this more residential area but is it really? Then you also have to think when will Oak Park, IL think about the future when it comes to developing the properties in the area?
Is traffic and parking a valid excuse when this is a problem that occurs everywhere in the village already? No, it is a problem because affordable housing brings minorities and poor people to their affluent area. Property values going down because of affordable housing? Maybe. But what the hell is there now? Do a Google search there is an empty lot. I am pretty sure that lowers property values than a huge four-story building.
Therefore, to me again, Oak Park, IL is just showing its true colors. A lawsuit against affordable housing is just a victory for injustice, the one thing Oak Park, IL states as a community they are against. They state and post little signs on their lawns that “Hate does not have a home here…” Well I think it has found one on Oak Park Avenue and Van Buren Street.
Here are the articles describing the lawsuit:
Google map of the proposed site: