Letter to the City Council
August 15, 2022
Dear Council Members, Commissioners and City Staff, thank you for reading this letter and including it in the city’s record. My name is Nan Parson. I have lived in Park Ridge for 52 years and am strongly invested in the well-being of my city.
I’m writing to encourage our city officials to include wording in the Strategic Plan which will enable Park Ridge to become a more “beloved community” where all feel safe and included. I suggest that this wording focus on increasing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Park Ridge and on finding just methods of dealing with acts of violence and hatred in our community. These two efforts are closely linked. Where Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are valued, people behave more positively; and a community is a safer and more welcoming place to live.
It should be clear, currently, that our city is not immune from acts of violence and hatred and that people of color sometimes feel unsafe here. The recent assault of a young, brown teenager by an off-duty policeman is an important example that violence can happen in our town. There have also been instances of abusive language and destruction of property in our city’s businesses, recreation facilities, schools and library. Park Ridge is not always the peaceful community that we want it to be.
The Public Safety section of the plan states that the city will seek to “harmoniously mitigate large, disruptive youth gatherings in the city’s economic centers”. This is a good beginning. I hope the “co-champions” assigned to this task will work to discover the causes of these disruptive gatherings, not only in the economic centers but throughout Park Ridge and consider using restorative justice methods to deal with them.
The Plan’s Mission Statement reads that the city will “enhance..the quality of life”; but no mention is made that the quality of life should be enhanced for all races, creeds, levels of income, ages and abilities.
The creation of this Strategic Plan offers the opportunity for Park Ridge to show that violence, both physical and verbal, and intolerance for others are not welcome in our town. By assigning city staff to study and make recommendations about these issues, Park Ridge will make clear that we take them seriously. I recommend that they suggest the following:
- Increase affordable housing, which can often enable members of minority groups to live here.
- Provide DEI training for all City Staff, elected and appointed officials, residents, and businesses.
- Use restorative justice methods to get at the root causes of disruptive physical and verbal attacks and to deal with such behavior.
- See that the off-duty policeman who assaulted a young teen-ager be brought to justice.
- Plan for more diversity in recruiting and hiring city employees, slating elected officials and in appointing individuals to commissions.
In conclusion, before finalizing and approving the Strategic Plan, I hope the city will add the goals of increasing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Park Ridge and of finding just methods of dealing with acts of hate and violence throughout the city.
Once again, thank you for considering my suggestions.
Co-founder and Chair of Action Ridge
One thought on “Nan Parson Urges City Council to add Affordable Housing, DEI Training, Restorative Justice, and more, to the Park Ridge Strategic Plan”
Excellent letter, Nan. I wholeheartedly agree with you.