June 2020 Letter to Editor

‘No one is free when others are oppressed.’ Martin Luther King Jr.

We are Action Ridge and our purpose is to promote principles of democracy: inclusion, respect, equity and the health of our planet.  We believe that truth matters. The truth is that racism is wrong, painful and hurts everyone.  The truth is racism exists and denying it and blaming others does nothing to change the truth or the systems that perpetuate policies of injustice. 

In 2016, the divisive, fear mongering, and oppressive tactics seen in the presidential campaign shifted many of our perspectives.  A few of us pledged to work together to affect change.  And so we formed the social activist group, open to all, now known as Action Ridge.  As a group and individually we work to build a Beloved Community in Park Ridge and beyond. 

As mostly white, middle class and middle or upper aged individuals, we acknowledge our lack of understanding of what our sisters and brothers of color face every day.  We do know that for each person brutally treated and killed because of racial bias, the pain grows and radiates outward.  The names George, Ahmaud, Breonna, and many others, are now tragically familiar and each represents a family, a story, a beloved life lost.  We grieve and hurt with our sisters and brothers of color.

Our goal is to continue to respect, include, see & listen to each other.  But, importantly, we act.  Some of our actions include a diversity group learning about racial injustices, working on fair and affordable housing practices in our community, advocating to reduce gun violence and more.  Please join us at actionridge2017@gmail.com to stand with us in action against racial injustice.

Nan Parson and Liz Swanson

Park Ridge Comprehensive Plan: Housing Chapter

Focus on efforts to ensure housing is attainable for people with various income levels and in different stages of their lives.  Policies include:

  • Allow Accessory Dwelling Units where it makes sense
  • Allow more multifamily, mixed -use, and 2-3 family dwellings at specific locations along key corridors and in transit areas (Dee Road, Higgins Road)
  • Create a Housing Fund for: senior retrofitting, historic preservation, assistance to potential homebuyers.  Funding comes from fees on teardowns for new large single-family homes
  • Encourage Employer Assisted Housing for our workforce
  • File a Housing Plan with the state with clear goals.  It is the right thing and it is the law.

Benefits of Affordable Housing to the Community:

  • Promotes cultural and economic diversity; everyone can live, work and play affordably
  • Assists local businesses to attract and retain employees by creating valuable workforce housing
  • Helps alleviate traffic congestion and environmental impacts associated with long commutes
  • Attractive to seniors, young singles and families, disabled, people of all backgrounds


  1. Contact your Alderman
  2. Contact the Planning and Zoning Commission and Individual Commissioners
  3. Contact the entire City Council
  4. Attend City Council when it’s scheduled and Planning & Zoning Commission (6/30) meetings
  5. Write a Letter to the Editor of a local paper and post on social media


  • Tell them why you care, what the benefits are as you see them
  • Tell them you support the above-listed policies in the Housing Chapter
  • State that you want your community to be INCLUSIVE and EQUITABLE


City Council:  public.comments@parkridge.us

Planning & Zoning Commission:  jcarlisle@parkridge.us

Individual Alderman email addresses are listed on the city website under City Council

For More Information on the Comprehensive Plan

Park Ridge Wonderful Website:  parkridgewonderful.com

Vote By Mail Petition

Urgent Petition: We’re asking state election officials to make Vote by Mail available to all voters.
We need to put as much pressure as we can on state governments to make Vote by Mail accessible for all.

Housing Initiative

During this very difficult time, while we are lucky to be able to shelter in place, we can help those who are most in need. The National Low Income Housing Coalition is asking us to contact our legislators to urge them to include housing in the next spending package.  Please take action.

This is from the NLIHC:
We must demand that Congress do more. Communities need another $11.5 billion in Emergency Solutions Grants to protect and house people experiencing homelessness, at least $100 billion in rental assistance to assist low-income renters and small landlords, and a uniform and complete moratorium on evictions and moratoriums. We also need emergency funds for public housing and other HUD housing providers, and a major investment in repairing and building affordable homes throughout the country.

Join us in urging Congress to provide these funds in the next spending packageAnd thank you – always – for your incredible work. You’re an inspiration.

Stay well,  The NLIHC

Meeting March 12

What a great program we have planned for our March meeting, on the 12th at 7:00 at the Community Church! We’ll be watching a documentary called “The Color Tax”, which is part of a series entitled “The Shame of Chicago”. Below is a description of the film and attached is the flyer advertising the showing.

This fascinating documentary explains the origins of the segregation we experience today. We’re honored that Jack Macnamara, who was involved in uncovering the fraud perpetrated on the south and westsides and appears in the film, will join us.

Please share the attached flyer, print up a few to hand out and join us on the 12th to raise your awareness about systemic racism in the Chicago area.


Through the stories of those who lived it and insights from the scholars who study it, the Shame of Chicago documentary series will chronicle Chicago’s history of residential segregation. It will enlighten and challenge the viewer to understand how prejudice, racially biased government policies, and business practices combined to deny millions of black families the opportunities enjoyed by their white counterparts to build household wealth and acquire quality education and other public goods. At the same time, it will bring alive the rich culture and vitality Chicago’s black communities created in the face of such odds, and accent the dignity and determination of their struggle for fairness and inclusion


Meeting January 9, 2020

Our monthly meeting  is this Thursday, the 9th, at the Community Church at 7:00. It’s going to be another interesting one with a presentation by three Sisters of St. Joseph who have responded to the call to help migrants at the Texas/Mexico border. They’ll show us a video of the actual situation down there so that we can gain a clearer understanding of the obstacles those who are seeking asylum face and learn how we might help them. Please join us. We should all be aware!

Also, for those of you who are interested in our Diversity Discussion Group, the book Just Mercy is waiting for you at the library. Please find it at Reader’s Services upstairs. Just ask for the Action Ridge book. I have to be truthful. It’s a disturbing read; but we Action Ridge folks are able to face the truth about what happens to people of color all to often in our country, at the border and in the courts. So pick up the book and join the discussion on January 22nd at 7:00 at the church.

Forge on, in spite of all that frightens us. Nan