In my last few messages to the community, I shared that the Village’s Community Relations Forum is working to support dialogue about racism, social equity and community building. Over the last three months, the Community Relations Forum has been focused on listening to the community to begin understanding how we can engage in meaningful conversations as one community and support the tenets of our Welcoming and Inclusive Community Pledge. Today, I would like to share how the Forum has been working in service to the community, and I continue to invite you to engage with the Forum to join in conversations.
The Forum is listening to people who have shared their personal experiences. In some cases, there have been stories about positive experiences in which individuals have engaged in respectful dialogue and shown true allyship.
Unfortunately, the Forum has also heard of negative experiences in which individuals in our community have not treated each other with empathy and respect. In one case, the Forum heard of an incident where a person physically took a piece of chalk from a sidewalk writer. Such physical actions directed at another person are totally unacceptable in a society that values freedom of speech. Stories like these are difficult to hear, but they highlight that despite the good things our community is doing, there is much we still must do.
In the last several months, many different perspectives have been voiced in the community. We must each do our part to help our community live our Welcoming and Inclusive Pledge by treating each other with kindness and turning moments of disagreement into opportunities to learn instead of sources of conflict. Individuals who are peacefully expressing themselves – whether in conversation, in chalk, on social media or in any other way – must be treated with respect and not antagonized.
The Community Relations Forum is continuing its work by listening to individuals and community organizations with the intent to learn how we can support the ideals of our Welcoming and Inclusive Community Pledge, but the Forum cannot do this alone. We need you! Each person who lives, visits or works in Glencoe helps build our community and has the power to make Glencoe warm and friendly, and I encourage everyone to find their own special ways to help us thrive as a welcoming community where everyone belongs.