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Affordable Housing Advocacy Group Meeting Minutes ~ April 7, 2022

Date: April 7, 2022

Location of meeting:  Via Zoom

Time meeting was called to order: 7:00pm

Attendees:  Kristin Berg, Nan Parson, Melani Kaplan, Jeanne Wells, Kathy Rosling, Karen Banks-Lubicz

Agenda Items:

  1. Kristin spoke with Drew Awsumb regarding the process and timing of the Comp Plan and the main points were as follows:
    1. Much has changed since 2019 when the Plan was started: the pandemic, new commissioners, new aldermen
    1. There will be public meetings ahead of the PZC discussions
    1. There will not be an overall consultant on the Plan, but some sections and some data might be given to a consultant for updating
    1. The city is surveying commissioners and aldermen to see where they should start as some chapters were close to being done.  Drew agrees that much was not resolved in the Housing Chapter and new things have come up, such as the possibility of adding more 3-flats that could affect Land Use.
    1. Drew agrees that officials need educating, as does the public.  He will encourage educational sessions and is in favor of bringing in officials from other suburbs who have gone through updating their housing language in Comp Plans and Housing Plans.
    1. He advised that we wait to make public comments until the topic is discussed in meetings
  • Kristin talked about how the year old Libertyville Comp Plan update has some very specific language on AH and in some cases call it “Attainable Housing”.  That Plan and page references to the language was sent to the group following the meeting:

Libertyville-Comprehensive-Plan—Approved-32321

Here are the pages that mention AH or Attainable Housing:

Pages 112-115

Page 168, 177 and 188-89

  • The LWV of Illinois held their annual Issues Briefing sessions in March and one of them was on “How to Make Your Voices Heard”.  A former state legislator talked about how logic and reasoning did not persuade him.  What won him over were the personal stories.  The group discussed friends, family, and associates personally known to them that are struggling to pay their rent, unable to live in or near Park Ridge, and have to commute long distances to work in Park Ridge, visit family, etc.  We will attempt to gather these stories and either ask people to tell them at a future PZC and/or City Council meeting or agree to have them recorded and submit them in writing or on video.  Local churches, businesses, social service agencies, and restaurants all may have stories to share.
  • The LWVE updated their Housing Statement and distributed it to local officials.  One of their references was the LWVCC “Findings and Recommendations on Affordable Housing and Residential Desegregation”.  They asked the question “What can Cook County Government do to promote affordable rental housing for families with children while reducing segregation?”.  Kristin mentioned this to the LWVPR at their Annual Meeting on 4/9/22. It turns out that the LWVPR AH Statement is also based on this report.  They will add the reference and post the report on their website.  This is a document that could be distributed to Park Ridge officials at the appropriate time in the Comp Plan discussions.
  • Kate worked on an infographic, and it was shared with the group.  Group feedback included:
    • Add the AR email address for people who want more information.
    • Add “single family homes” under the heading “Types of Affordable Housing”
    • Correct a typo in the property value blurb – it should be nearby, not nearlby
    • A second infographic to address the emotions connected with lack of AH, questions such as “How would you pay for your child’s school if you had to spend 50% of your income on rent?”, include faces of people, statistics on income vs rent/mortgage costs in PR
  • Upcoming events/updates:
    • AR Meeting April 13 at 7:00pm at the Community Church and virtual on zoom. Tonika Johnson and Maria Krysan of the Folded Map Project will be meeting with us. Nan is thinking of ways to include people of color who live in PR in Action Ridge events, committees, etc.
    • AR Diversity Discussion Group.  Next meeting is April 27 at 7:00pm on zoom.  The book is 3 Girls from Bronzeville.
    • Earth Day cleanup event in Blue Island on April 23rd.  Contact  Action Ridge for more information.
    • Vacancy for 7th Ward Alderman
    • HODC Open House May 20th, 3-6pm at HODC office building, 5340 Lincoln Avenue, Skokie.  A “save the Date” flyer was emailed out and the detailed invitation will follow.

Time Meeting Adjourned:  8:40pm                                                              

Next Meeting Date:  Thursday, May 12th at 7:00pm via Zoom

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Meeting Minutes ~ April 13, 2022

Action Ridge General Meeting

April 13, 2022

The meeting began at 7:15pm. Participants were in person at the Park Ridge Community Church and virtual via Zoom.

Nan welcomed everyone and read the Land Acknowledgment. She then introduced Tonika Lewis Johnson, creator of the Folded Map Project, and Maria Krysan, Professor of Sociology at the University of Illinois Chicago.

Feature Presentation: The Folded Map Project (Live!)

Maria Krysan provided background for the project, including the Fair Housing Act of 1968, which made it illegal to discriminate based on race, religion, national origin, sex, (and as amended) handicap and family status.

However, segregation is basically unchanged from then, though it looks somewhat different. Segregation is now baked into policies due to social engineering of segregation.

Three explanations for segregation:

  • Economics (assimilation perspective)
  • Preferences
  • Discrimination (stratification perspective)

Preferences (social factors) would still lead to segregation even if economics and discrimination didn’t exist.

Our media, social networks, and lived experiences are all informed by race. They are the reason we know what we do about whether a place is “good” or “bad”.

  • Media is more than news – movies, TV, advertisements for stores or jobs, list serves.
  • Social networks – living near family/friends, but also knowing where people you know live.
  • Lived experiences – where you live or lived, worked, places you go.

People have a tendency to use one known fact about a place to fill in for lots of things they don’t know about a place.

The Folded Map disrupts these thought systems.

Tonika also spearheaded the Don’t Go… Project. She and Maria interviewed 30 people about going to neighborhoods on the south and west sides of Chicago. Many articulated reasons for not going that were not known or true.

Tonika played a video of a segment related to the Firsthand: Segregation series. Chicagoans who have gone where they weren’t “supposed” to go discussed their experiences.

Tonika presented another project she worked on called Belonging: Power, Place, and (im)possibilities. Inspired by news reports of downtown Chicago business that were banning teens, she interviewed and photographed nine Black and brown youth and asked them about places where they have been profiled.

Reflections of AR members who went to Blue Island

Several Action Ridge members went to visit Blue Island in small groups over the past month. Action Ridge had identified Blue Island as Park Ridge’s map twin at the previous meeting.

Sharon Kemerer

There was a lot of community energy. The people at City Hall were welcoming. She had grown up in the community. Her mother had grown up in Blue Island. She visited the funeral home that had done her family’s funerals.

Chris Parson

Chris spent most of his time in downtown Blue Island. Almost all of the people working in the library were white. Many library patrons looked like they might be homeless. He saw many historic homes in the residential areas. It struck him that a very diverse community had figured out how to be stable.

Kristen Olson

Blue Island reminded her of Des Plaines in the way that it exhibited racial diversity and revitalization of the downtown area. She came in by way of more affluent suburbs, Homewood and Flossmoor. There she saw golf courses and overpasses. By contrast, Blue Island had a junkyard at its edge and she had to wait 10 minutes for a freight train to pass. The library had a big collection of books for job seeking and study guides for the military entrance test.

Nan will collect reflections from all of the AR members who went to Blue Island and will send out the compendium to the group.

Upcoming Events

Blue Island will be hosting a community clean up. There was a discussion about whether it is appropriate for people from Park Ridge to participate. Would it be a useful way to get to know people in Blue Island or could it be perceived as a do-gooder activity that might offend? Tonika thought it would be a good idea to go. Nan will send out more information as it becomes available.

At the May 11 Action Ridge meeting we will work through some of the action-oriented materials from the Firsthand series study guide.

Cynthia Kater discussed two events that respond to recent drops of anti-Semitic flyers in the north and northwest suburbs. The Niles Coalition asked if Action Ridge wanted to be involved.  There will be a rally on April 24 at 5:30pm at Gallery Park in Glenview. Several elected officials are expected to attend. Then, on the afternoon of May 15, there will be a rally in Jonquil Park in Niles.

Tonika Johnson will be recording a live episode of her podcast, Inequity for Sale, on April 28 at Kennedy King College. Her guests will include Marisa Novara, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Housing; Robin Simmons, who led the charge for the Evanston reparations program; and Amber Hendley, a researcher on the paper, “The Plunder of Black Wealth in Chicago”.

The Smithsonian exhibit, “The Bias Inside Us”, will be at the Evanston Public Library. Nan is organizing a group from Action Ridge to attend.

Meeting adjourned at 9:10pm

Minutes respectfully submitted by Alissa Goldwasser and Nan Parson.

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General Meeting ~ April 13th

On April 13th, at 7:00, Action Ridge will host an informative meeting to look at the causes and effects of segregation.  We will meet with Tonika Lewis Johnson, who created The Folded Map Project, through which a northside community is matched with a “twin” southside neighborhood. 

As the Folded Map Project Website says, this twinship simply, but effectively, helps everyone “understand how our urban environment is structured and (explains the impact of segregation) on our social networks”. Tonika “wants to challenge everyone to think about how change may be possible and to contribute to a solution”.

Through their work with the Project, Action Ridge members have chosen Blue Island as our “twin city”.  Six groups of two or three have visited Blue Island to get a feel for the community and to compare similarities and differences between Blue Island and Park Ridge.   On the 13th, Tonika and her colleague, Maria Krysan, will guide participants in a discussion about their experience in Blue Island and will help all of the attendees find ways to create a more beloved, inclusive, less segregated city.   

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General Meeting ~ 7pm June 10

Dear Intellectually Curious Folks,  This is your chance to learn what the term “Affordable Housing” really means and how more housing at various price points can benefit Park Ridge.  Our guest speaker, Sue Loellbach, of the “Joining Forces for Affordable Housing Program” will  teach us so much about housing in Park Ridge and nearby suburbs.

For Zoom link, please email:  actionridge2017@gmail.com

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Meeting Minutes & Video ~ 5.13.21

Action Ridge Meeting Agenda

May 13, 2021

Attendance via Zoom

Link to video Recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euX11pVe7MY&t=19s

7:00pm – 7:05 There were 33 people on the call at 7:10.  Nan welcomed all of the participants, especially those who haven’t attended regularly.  Then she went over a brief calendar.

  1.  The Diversity Discussion Group will be talking about Evicted on May 26th.
  2. On June 2nd, the Housing Advocacy Group, will plan initiatives regarding Affordable Housing in Park Ridge.
  3. (Addition to the minutes) On June 3rd, the WIP (Work in Progress) Group will continue to explore ways to structure Action Ridge to ensure its longevity.
  4. Our next General Meeting will be on June 10th.  More later about that meeting.

7:03pm – 7:05pm   Current and Upcoming Actions

  1.  The BIO Bill is still pending.  Noreen has asked us to submit a request to our legislators to pass the bill.  Nan has included it in this email.
  2. “The Long Shadow” will be shown in collaboration with the Park Ridge Library, including a discussion group with the producer.
  3. The Public Comment urging the new Council to keep in mind issues of inclusion, respect and equity when forming policies was read into the record at the Council Meeting on May 10th.  139 people signed the comment.

7:05pm – 7:10pm–Introductions of the panelists and an overview of SAFE-T (Safety, Accountability, Fairness, and Equity — Today) Act—Alissa

7:10pm – 7:55pm            Panel discussion about the SAFE-T Act with

Chief Frank Kaminski, Park Ridge Police Department

Peter Hanna, American Civil Liberties Union, Illinois

Sara Knizhnik, Newtown Action Alliance

1. Introduction of Chief Kaminski, who spoke about the positive aspects of the Act.

  1. Decertification to get rid of bad cops is good.
  2. Body cameras are helpful.  The officers like them.
  3. Training is good but it’s hard to do it consistently because of cost and the need to take officers off the street.
  4. Duty to aide is necessary and it’s good that it’s mandated by the law.

2. Peter Hanna of the ACLU

  1. He feels this is a good step forward. The elimination of cash bail is especially important.
  2. He agrees with the Chief’s assessment of the positive aspects of the bill.
  3. He added that implementation is the key.  Just having a law isn’t enough.

3. Sara Knizhnik

  1.  Criminal Justice reform can’t be separated from policing reform and gun violence prevention.
  2. This bill is a wonderful example of what a bill can do to effect systemic change.
  3. It restores balance to the criminal justice system.  It begins to right a long list of wrongs committed against the people and takes into account their needs, which is good for law enforcement and for those in the system; and it will reduce gun violence.  When the people are helped, gun violence goes down.
  •  Alissa asked about the use of body cameras in the school system.  Chief Kaminski stated that the SROS don’t have to use body cameras, despite the requirement in the bill.  He said that an exception can be made.  To protect student privacy, the schools don’t want them.
  • Chief Kaminski was asked whether training will increase because of the bill.  So far, the department is waiting for direction from the Training Board.  He feels that role-playing training is most effective and hopes that will be implemented. Virtual/interactive training might be used, as well.
  • Peter Hanna said that training is very important but isn’t helpful unless there’s enforcement and discipline of officers who don’t comply.  We need accountability and transparency.  The solution is interlocking the law and follow-up.
  • Sara agreed with the previous comments.  She said that training is good but once the officers get on the street, they may do things as they’ve always done them.  The culture needs to change.
  • Alissa asked Peter to talk about how to change police culture.  He said that there’s a need to have a preventative mindset so that certain situations can be avoided.  The police officers who aren’t willing to change need to be called out.  For a very long time, a 1,000 people have been killed by police each year, which is much more than in any other country.  That needs to change.
  • Chief Kaminski said that, in his long career, he’s seen very good cops and rogue cops.  He feels that leadership has to be willing to call out bad apples.  One bad cop can affect the whole force.  The arbitration process was difficult to deal with; but this new law will help Chiefs be able to get rid of bad cops.  There needs to be a mission statement, which everyone knows, understands and abides by.  The Chief needs to lead the way.
  1. The new law makes room for co-responder cooperation.  Alissa asked if the Chief can imagine a day when the police will not always be called—that a Social Worker or community support might be called, instead.  The Chief didn’t really answer this question but said that all of the officers get CIT (Crisis Intervention Training).  Now an officer always goes out with the Social Worker.  He is wondering if the day will come when there are more Social Workers.  He feels satisfied with the CIT and that it has changed the culture.  Now the officers know how to deescalate a situation. 
  1. Jac Charlier
  1. Jac worked on the aspect of the bill that deals with mental health and substance abuse issues.  He’s an expert on the intersection where policing deals with mental health issues. 
  2. Deflection by organizations and mental health professionals  in the community must be used more often.  The bill expands deflection so that states can get funding for their EMS initiatives.  There are 3 ways that deflection is done.

1. Officers have ready access to someone in the department to help those with mental health issues.

2.  Co-responder approaches, such as a police officer and another medical or behavioral health professional respond together.

3.  Community responders—police don’t respond and community leaders, such as churches, mosques, agencies like the Institute for Non-Violence (note-takers’ suggestion) and EMTs or a behavioral health professional respond.

Jac said that we must get “upstream” of police response and deal with the causes of the problems.

  1.  Alissa brought up the issue of “qualified immunity” which tends to allow bad apples to continue on the job.  It makes it hard to prosecute a rogue cop because he/she is protected by immunity. 
  2. Peter Hanna said that we need to be deferential about the difficulty of policing.  A police officer who makes a good faith error should be protected.  But “qualified immunity” should not be used when a police officer has violated a citizen’s constitutional rights.  Now there’s a “Bad Apple Bill” before the state legislature which can also make it easier to get rid of bad cops.   
  3. Chief Kaminski worries that good cops might not be protected when they are trying to do their jobs.  He worries about the profession and hears that good cops are afraid that, when they make a good-faith mistake, they could be prosecuted, jailed or fired.  Senior police are leaving and it’s hard to find new police, he said.  He hopes that a task force can address this concern. 

A team of Chiefs of Police are working on trailer bills to correct some of the weaknesses of the bill.  Police are in favor of police reform; but he feels that there are inconsistencies that need to be clarified.

7:55pm – 8:15pm            Discussion about Law Enforcement and Youth in Park Ridge

  1.  Alissa asked the Chief about the use of Restorative Justice principles in dealing with youth and the SROs at Maine South and Maine East.  The Chief feels that the SRO program is successful.  But he agrees that the program should be evaluated on-going.  He supports the idea of focus groups to make improvement. 

Alissa suggested that evaluation of the program is important, including outcomes.  Ginger Pennington, a City Council Watch Dog, suggested, at the last Council meeting, ways to evaluate outcomes.  The Chief says that the schools need to be onboard with any evaluation plan; but thinks they should be considered.

  • Alissa asked about the way that young people are dealt with in large groups and wondered if they were being “criminalized”.  The Chief said some of the kids aren’t from Park Ridge. He feels that police need to be involved.   Most of the kids are fine.  They do their best not to “criminalize the teens”.
  • Alissa asked if the citizen patrol groups receive implicant bias or culturally competence training.  The chief said that they are just “ordinary citizens” and don’t receive training.  He’s considering providing that training.

8:15pm – 8:30pm            Q&A (questions via chat function)

  1.  Is the police academy training adequate?  The Chief feels that it’s good enough.
  • The Chief is in favor of creating a teen center again.
  • As the law enforcement profession feels more pressure for reform, is there a way to allay the fears of good officers while dealing with the “bad apples”.  The Chief said he tries to allay their fears; but police personnel are still worried about whether they’ll be treated fairly.

The meeting ended on a positive note with Alissa speaking about the importance of the SAFE-T-ACT in bringing about positive change in policing.


8:45pm                             Meeting Ended

Respectfully submitted by Nan Parson.

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Activities of the Action Ridge Discussion Group

Compiled on February 21, 2021

Our decision to initiate a Discussion Group came from our workshops with the Anti-racist Educators–Corrie Wallace, Sarah Dennis, Yvonnie Dubose and Jena Doolas.

We had been helping The Institute for Non-Violence by giving them Christmas presents and working in their Christmas shop.  We wanted to have more interactions with them; but realized,  as we learned more, that, before we engaged further with them and other helping agencies, we needed to be aware of our own racist biases and to study the history of racism.

Here’s a list of all of the things we’ve done to reach our current place of evaluating and planning for the future of the Discussion Group:

  •  April 2019—Corrie Wallace, an anti-racist consultant with numerous area school systems, including in Evanston and here at D207, led us in an interactive workshop to explore racism.
  • Summer 2019—Jena Doolas led a book discussion of What It Means to be White.
  • November 14, 2019—We held a panel Discussion with Sarah Dennis, Yvonnie Dubose, Letesha Dickerson and Jena Doolas to teach us how unconscious bias affects us all.
  • Sarah Dennis led a book discussion of Showing Up for Racial Justice.
  • During the winter we conducted discussions led by Nan.  We read:
    •  So You Want to Talk About Race—Ijeoma Oluo
    • Just Mercy—Bryan Stevenson (Some of us also saw the movie.)
    • Home Going—Yaa Gyasi
    • Waking Up White and Finding Myself in the Story of Race—Debby Irving
    • How To Be Anti-racist—Ibram Kendi
  •  We saw:
    • “When They See Us”—film
    • “The Hate You Give”—film
    • “The Long Shadow”—film.
    • Shame of Chicago” and “The Color Tax” and “No Place to Live” by Bruce Orenstein
  •  On June 6th we participated in the Prayer/Peace Vigil organized by the Ministerial Association and in a Black Lives Matter rally on June 27th.
  • In November we participated in the library presentation with Ibram Kendi.
  • In December Sarah Dennis and Yvonnie Dubose conducted a Healing Circle with several Discussion members.
  • In January and February, we combined the Discussion Group and the General Meeting by hosting Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn and Jerry Kellman to discuss “Building the Beloved Community”.
  •  In March, we are planning to once more combine the Discussion Group and the General Meeting with a training with the Institute for Non-violence.

  •  
Featured

Meeting Minutes ~ 2.18.21

Action Ridge General Meeting

February 18, 2021

7:00pm

Review of Recent and Upcoming Items

February 22nd, 7:00–The Sustainability Task Force is asking for support.  Call 847-318-5200 to register for the Council meeting or sign up online at

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6782738111268885003

February 24th, 7:00—The Discussion Group will meet to decide next steps.

We are forming a group to plan ways to advocate for increased Affordable Housing.  Email actionridge2017@gmail.com to join in.

Pat Lofthouse, Julianna Lopez de Philbrook, Kate Kerin, Linda Ritts, Liz Swanson and Nan Parson are meeting next week to talk about possibly incorporating.

Alissa Goldwasser is researching the Criminal Justice Reform Bill (HB3653) and will report to us soon.

Liz and Nan have talked to Ashley Perkins, of The Institute for Nonviolence, about conducting a Nonviolence Workshop.  A tentative date of March 24th has been set.

Lisa Page is negotiating with the library about showing The Long Shadow, followed by a discussion with the writer/producer.

On March 18th, the Park Ridge League of Woman Voters will sponsor a candidate forum.  Action Ridge’s Julianna Lopez de Philbrook will take part.  They are asking for volunteers.  If you’d like to help, email the Park Ridge League.

There was an article in Journal Topics that reviewed the recent Maine South High School video meeting about diversity and inclusion.

Karen Hein mentioned that The League of Woman Voters is holding its annual Issues Briefing on February 22 and February 27. Information and registration are at lwvil.org.

Special Guest Gerald Kellman

Sue and Mike McGovern introduced Gerald (Jerry) Kellman. Jerry is an organizer who has been working for social justice in areas including affordable housing, restorative justice, and violence prevention for decades. He co-founded the Gamaliel Foundation and brought Barack Obama to Chicago in 1985. He currently works for the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, an organization that advocates for financial institutions to make investments in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods.

Jerry described his journey in social justice work:

Grew up in New Rochelle, NY, which was geographically segregated and, as a result, had segregated neighborhood schools. The fight to integrate the schools was his introduction to organizing.

Much of his work has been rooted in faith-based initiatives.  He worked with churches. More recently he believes that Evangelical churches have turned from social justice to tyranny and that the Catholic church has not engaged where it should.

Fast forward a decade or more…

Recruited by NCRC to address economic racism, namely the difficulty of people of color to get loans. NCRC is the principal organization that holds banks accountable for reinvesting in communities. About to complete the largest agreement to date with PNC Bank– more philanthropy, more lending to communities of color, alternatives to payday lending.

Also working on workforce initiatives for NCRC. SNAP employment and training is a program with bipartisan support that is being underutilized in several states including Pennsylvania and Michigan.

Observations/Beliefs

Community groups (churches, unions, etc.) are not as strong as they used to be. The internet has, to a degree, supplanted the information flow that came through these institutions. Organizing has to change as a result.

On transitions: Moments of questioning are uncomfortable, when what you thought you knew shifts. If you sit with it, you can move through to something possibly more worthwhile. Barack Obama’s election began a transition that we are currently moving through.

An organizer’s skill is listening – what people want, need, care about.

Relationships are the key to inspiring and sustaining movements. There is a need to be in a relationship with those we want to help and people who want to help us. It is important to be around people who are different than we are and to hear their point of view.

Define yourself, don’t let others define you.

Addressing Local Issues

Easier to do affordable housing if you have the partnership of your municipality. In most towns, this isn’t possible. The good news is that you can still pursue affordable housing in Park Ridge without the city’s help – the laws are very strong. If there’s the money and zoning to put up a building, the city couldn’t stop it. Could get support from Cook County.

Waukegan had a law that you could only live in a dwelling with immediate family. Jerry’s group sued and eventually the city had to give in.

The economics of affordable housing initiatives don’t work unless you get a subsidy – of land, most likely. If not, then you have to get grants. Park Ridge may not get block grant funds, but Cook County may and could allocate to this initiative. It is also possible to pursue bequests as a source of funding. A four-unit building would require a subsidy of approximately $40K-$50K per unit. Fundraising is key.

Jerry believes that change can happen locally as well as nationally.

What is the real goal behind promoting affordable housing – is it to bring diversity to Park Ridge or give better housing to a lower income community? The approach might be different depending on this answer. It is important to build coalitions outside of Park Ridge.

Banks could also be partners. Corporations have re-assessed racial inequality as something they want to take up. This change came from the Black Lives Matter protests and a response to the danger posed by Donald Trump.

A way to motivate an institution (police, elected body) is to identify who is doing it better and challenge Park Ridge to be a leading community.

How do you assess a community’s needs?

Train how to interview, listen, and assess what has been heard

  1. What is the immediate impact on people’s lives?
  2. How can the goal be defined in a specific way?
  3. Is the goal realizable?

If the goal is to increase diversity in Park Ridge, some of the approaches might be:

  • define diversity broadly and address each front
  • invite people in
  • educate
  • work through existing relationships with sister churches
  • advocate for housing diversity

The next Diversity Discussion Group–February 24th at 7:00.

Next General Action Ridge meeting – March 24th at 7:00.

The topic will likely be a workshop with the Institute for Nonviolence Chicago

Meeting concluded at 8:39pm

Respectfully submitted by Alissa Goldwasser and Nan Parson

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Upcoming Meeting ~ 2.11.21

Our next speaker in our series on Building the Beloved Community is unable to make it as planned for this General Meeting. Instead, we are encouraging members to tune into a zoom call being held by Dr. Ben Collins, Principal of Maine South, and his staff.  They have been working hard to build a more Beloved Community at Maine South and want to report on their progress and are seeking our support. The changes made at Maine South raise our spirits and give us hope for a more Beloved Community right here in Park Ridge; so please read the note from Dr. Collins below and join him and his team on the 11th, at 6:30.

For a link to the call, please contact actionridge2017@gmail.com.

 From Dr. Collins:

I hope this message finds your family healthy and managing this challenging time well. We are working hard to navigate this year for our students at Maine South and to grow into a better and more caring environment for all students and staff… This
special meeting happening … will address where our school is at with our efforts towards equity, inclusion, diversity and anti-racism. We have a banner that will go up soon which has been designed by our students. We are also deep into staff training and have instituted some direct actions this year because of student listening sessions. All of these efforts will be discussed, including plans for the future. 


For this work to be successful, we need engaged and committed community members to help us in our journey. We need you!

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Transcript of Guest Interview with Bernardine Dohrn (BD) & Bill Ayers (BA) January 27, 2021

NOTE: To request an audio file of this guest interview, please email actionridge2017@gmail.com.

Guest Interview 

Bernardine Dohrn (BD) 

  • Impressed with Action Ridge’s organization and commitment to social justice. 
  • Went to Washington four years ago to protest Hillary Clinton’s policies as presumed winner of the 2016 presidential election. Ended up as counter demonstrators to a Trump rally. 
  • Women’s March the following day – serious, silly, inventive, jubilant. Came back invigorated and inspired to talk with neighbors. Left leaflets on block to invite people to brunch to talk about what to do next. Learned that neighbors they had known for years were active in many different efforts to improve the world. 

Bill Ayers (BA) 

  • Admires Action Ridge’s efforts to build a beloved community. Part of democracy is talking to others and inviting people in to dialogue.  
  • There is the saying “If you’re not pissed off, you’re not paying attention.” But if all you are is angry, you can’t build the kind of networks and community to move forward.  
  • Cycle of effective activism: 
  • Open your eyes…to what exists in the world beyond your own experience. 
  • Be astonished… by beauty and suffering. 
  • Do something. 
  • Rethink…the actions you took and the circumstances that now exist. 
  • “Open your eyes” is something that has to be done continually, not just once. Don’t be smug and assume you know the path. Knowing comes with a burden. 
  • “Be astonished” means don’t normalize injustice. Don’t take for granted that we see homeless kids; respond to the horror of it. 
  • “Rethink” – begin process again. Believes that they failed in their youth to rethink. 
  • Progressive people get caught up in thinking that politics is about elections. Believes in voting, but we spend too much time looking at sites of power we don’t have access to (government) and ignoring the sites of power we do have access to (religious institutions, universities, community centers.) 
  • Change comes not from hearts on top, but from fire below.  Obama, Roosevelt and Lincoln all changed positions because of pressure bubbling up from grassroots sources. 

AR: How have conditions for social justice change changed in the past several decades? 

BD 

  • Movements have coalesced in Chicago for the past thirty years. Immigration rights, Women’s march, BLM, coalitions that Barbara Ransby put together. Chicago has been a hotbed of activism and thoughtfully intersectional. 

BA 

  • Bill and Bernardine are not nostalgic, but he still holds his membership card from Students for a Democratic Society.  They are of the present. Learn from young people.  
  • R3 is 36 organizations that meet and hammer out common interests. Struggle for black freedom – upsurge is bigger than they have ever seen. 
  • Now is what matters. Looking forward is what matters. Link arms in solidarity – not in service or charity. James Baldwin taught that white people will be freed when Black liberation is realized — freed from privilege. 
  • When Occupy movement happened, it accomplished a lot. Raised the question of the 1%. No one had presented it like that. Movements are places of public education. Creating a public square is necessary. Learning together and making mistakes together. 

BD:  

  • Wouldn’t have imagined the emboldened and out front white supremacist activity three years ago; seeing a new power of neo-facism and white supremacy.  

AR: How do you stay motivated and energized to continue the work of social justice? 

BA 

  • Movements have created changes, like the end of death penalty.  
  • They weren’t active in the movement but were disgusted by celebratory environment around John Wayne Gacy’s impending execution. Went to Statesville prison and found very few people there of like minds. Bill had never felt more marginalized. A few years later, George Ryan cleared death row. BA’s mindset wasn’t winning the issue, it was about preserving our humanity. 

BD:  

  • Larry Marshall wanted to have conference of people who were exonerated from death row. Another Kind of Innocence effort was around juvenile justice. Launched effort to end juvenile death penalty (having committed crime under 18) but didn’t want to redirect efforts to abolish death penalty. Stayed away from states that were on the way to do that. 

BA 

  • Reframed the idea of juvenile life without parole – “Sentenced to die in prison.” 

AR: What is the legacy you hope to leave and value most highly? 

BA 

  • Family – sons, grandchildren, and each other. 
  • After controversy during the Obama campaign, wrote for therapy and published “Public Enemy”, which is really a book about parenting. 

BD 

  • After kids left, they cared for their parents.  

AR: Are there practical tools you use to keep yourself motivated and inspiring youth? 

BA 

  • Youth inspire THEM. 
  • They are personally happy and the world is broken. Necessary to put yourself proximate to the suffering you see.  
  • Their work is challenging the dominant narrative – white superiority and Black inferiority. 
  • Have to stay hopeful, not optimistic, because that implies you know what outcome will be. The day before the revolution, it is unthinkable. Looking back, it is inevitable. 
  • When Jon Burge was convicted of torturing Black men into convictions is sparked a movement for reparations.  BLM took it over the top. City apologized and paid reparations. Amazing accomplishment happened because many movements came together. 

AR: White people are trapped in history we don’t understand. What is the danger of being too passive or too active?  

BD 

  • Reminder that we as white people need to check in with others on a regular basis.  
  • Benefits of white supremacy requires us to use the steps Bill articulated. 
  • There is peril in not getting buy-in from everyone who is a stakeholder to an issue, but is not a reason for inaction.  
  • Going back and evaluating consequences of actions is important. 

BA 

  • The 1619 Project is essential. Trump responded by forming the 1776 commission, report released on MLK day. Has his students read them side by side.  
  • You don’t have to do everything – can you do something? Connect to other somethings. Join with other like-minded people.  

BD 

  • If you are a single issue person, you are vulnerable and weaker.  
  • When two big issues come together you are stronger. Intersectionality – consider how issues are connected. 

BA 

  • Value in reframing the issue 

BD 

  • Corporate interests and military are counter to just society — need to take back everything that makes US a world power to make the country better. Take pentagon budget and put into climate and education. Need to build grass roots power and be wary of corporate power. 

BA 

  • Need to be willing to engage in dialogue 
  • Thinks he is in the majority of the country on the top 10 issues. 
  • Example of speech at the University of Georgia. Hell’s angels took places in the front row to intimidate him. Reframing of issue led to an interesting and substantive conversation.  They went to lunch together to continue the discussion. 

BD 

  • Expect the unexpected. Elimination of cash bail in Illinois – setting agenda for the country. Be ready for opportunities. 

AR: What are the best ways to leverage social media? 

BA 

  • Ask a 10 year old. They are not proficient at using social media 

AR: What advice do you have about how to forward an Affordable Housing agenda after all the actions AR has taken? 

BA 

  • Movement building – research, thinking, engaging others. Rahm Emanual closed schools but proposed cop academy. Young people in Garfield Park asked a different question – what would you do with $95M? Reframe the issue.  

BD 

  • Sports, music, theater – conscious efforts to reach out beyond the obvious and comfort zone can make a difference what you are building and where support comes from. 
  • Witness what youth poets are doing in Chicago at Louder Than A Bomb Youth Poetry Festival – amazing community building fueling movements. 

BA 

  • If Biden is going to champion progressive initiatives it will be due to popular fire from below. Environmental justice advocates got the administration appointments they wanted. Obama was against gay marriage at first;  advocates kept on working and changed the narrative.  

AR: What are resources to teach children about social justice? 

BA 

  • Alison Bechdel published Fun Home and Dykes to Watch Out For. Bechdel test for whether media is anti-sexist – two woman characters that have names and talk to each other about something other than men. 
  • Black Lives Matter in Schools and An Indigenous Peoples History  of the United States for children 
  • (On engaging with people with different world views) Don’t see having a civil conversation with people who want to overthrow the government. Hells Angels experience – usually a way to reframe the issue.  

BD 

  • Humor is also an excellent way to break the ice. 

BA 

  • Lecture is didactic; humor is inclusive. 

BD 

  • Mothers of people on death row were instrumental to overturning death penalty. Humanized the people on death row. 
  • The Feminist on Cellblock Y is a film that humanizes the incarcerated.  

BA 

  • Often accused of being an idealist. He wants to have an ideal that he is looking toward. He is not naïve, wants to learn and see more. 
  • Utopia always moves away as you step towards it. What good is walking toward it? Keeps you walking. Need to love the world enough to keep working to change it. 

Nan thanked Bill and Bernardine and the participants in the discussion. 

She acknowledged Melvin Lars who wrote Just an Ordinary Joe’George and is a host for Civic Dinners.  Sign up on-line for Bridging the Racial Divide. 

Meeting ended at 8:55pm 

Meeting minutes submitted by Alissa Goldwasser and Nan Parson 

Featured

Meeting Minutes ~ 1.27.21

Action Ridge Meeting 

January 27, 2021 

7pm 

Welcome from Liz Swanson and explanation of the plans for the evening 

Ongoing Actions – Nan Parson 

  • Thank you’s to Jackie McNeily, Cynthia Kater, Alissa Goldwasser 
  • Alissa Goldwasser will research and report on law enforcement reaction to the passage of criminal justice reform legislation in Illinois. 
  • Liz Swanson and Nan continue to strategize around having a social justice banner at Maine South, like the other district high schools. 
  • Action Ridge continues to work with NWS4REJ on holding City of Chicago accountable for stipulations of the consent decree. 
  • Noreen Gayford is keeping tabs on gun violence legislation. The BIO bill did not get taken up by the State Senate, but work will continue. 
  • Kristin Berg and Nan continue to forward efforts to create affordable housing with the Planning and Zoning Committee and City Council; partnering with Reclaim the Suburbs 

Upcoming Events – Nan Parson 

  • Next Core Leaders Meeting: February 4 
  • Next General Meeting: February 11 
  • Next Discussion Group: February 24 
  • Mike McGovern is working with Better Arguments Project (building better civic conversations); Action   Ridge could possibly have a training on February 11. 
  • General meeting in March may focus on the election. 

Introductions of Guest Speakers – Valerie Halston and Fran Stott 

Bill Ayers is an educator and activist who has written many books on education, race, and social justice. He blogs on his website (bilayers.org) and produces a podcast called Under the Tree

Bernardine Dohrn is an activist, educator, legal scholar, and children’s  and women’s rights advocate. She was formerly a law professor at Northwestern University where she started the Children and Family Justice Center. 

Guest Interview 

Bernardine Dohrn (BD) 

  • Impressed with Action Ridge’s organization and commitment to social justice. 
  • Went to Washington four years ago to protest Hillary Clinton’s policies as presumed winner of the 2016 presidential election. Ended up as counter demonstrators to a Trump rally. 
  • Women’s March the following day – serious, silly, inventive, jubilant. Came back invigorated and inspired to talk with neighbors. Left leaflets on block to invite people to brunch to talk about what to do next. Learned that neighbors they had known for years were active in many different efforts to improve the world. 

Bill Ayers (BA) 

  • Admires Action Ridge’s efforts to build a beloved community. Part of democracy is talking to others and inviting people in to dialogue.  
  • There is the saying “If you’re not pissed off, you’re not paying attention.” But if all you are is angry, you can’t build the kind of networks and community to move forward.  
  • Cycle of effective activism: 
  • Open your eyes…to what exists in the world beyond your own experience. 
  • Be astonished… by beauty and suffering. 
  • Do something. 
  • Rethink…the actions you took and the circumstances that now exist. 
  • “Open your eyes” is something that has to be done continually, not just once. Don’t be smug and assume you know the path. Knowing comes with a burden. 
  • “Be astonished” means don’t normalize injustice. Don’t take for granted that we see homeless kids; respond to the horror of it. 
  • “Rethink” – begin process again. Believes that they failed in their youth to rethink. 
  • Progressive people get caught up in thinking that politics is about elections. Believes in voting, but we spend too much time looking at sites of power we don’t have access to (government) and ignoring the sites of power we do have access to (religious institutions, universities, community centers.) 
  • Change comes not from hearts on top, but from fire below.  Obama, Roosevelt and Lincoln all changed positions because of pressure bubbling up from grassroots sources. 

AR: How have conditions for social justice change changed in the past several decades? 

BD 

  • Movements have coalesced in Chicago for the past thirty years. Immigration rights, Women’s march, BLM, coalitions that Barbara Ransby put together. Chicago has been a hotbed of activism and thoughtfully intersectional. 

BA 

  • Bill and Bernardine are not nostalgic, but he still holds his membership card from Students for a Democratic Society.  They are of the present. Learn from young people.  
  • R3 is 36 organizations that meet and hammer out common interests. Struggle for black freedom – upsurge is bigger than they have ever seen. 
  • Now is what matters. Looking forward is what matters. Link arms in solidarity – not in service or charity. James Baldwin taught that white people will be freed when Black liberation is realized — freed from privilege. 
  • When Occupy movement happened, it accomplished a lot. Raised the question of the 1%. No one had presented it like that. Movements are places of public education. Creating a public square is necessary. Learning together and making mistakes together. 

BD:  

  • Wouldn’t have imagined the emboldened and out front white supremacist activity three years ago; seeing a new power of neo-facism and white supremacy.  

AR: How do you stay motivated and energized to continue the work of social justice? 

BA 

  • Movements have created changes, like the end of death penalty.  
  • They weren’t active in the movement but were disgusted by celebratory environment around John Wayne Gacy’s impending execution. Went to Statesville prison and found very few people there of like minds. Bill had never felt more marginalized. A few years later, George Ryan cleared death row. BA’s mindset wasn’t winning the issue, it was about preserving our humanity. 

BD:  

  • Larry Marshall wanted to have conference of people who were exonerated from death row. Another Kind of Innocence effort was around juvenile justice. Launched effort to end juvenile death penalty (having committed crime under 18) but didn’t want to redirect efforts to abolish death penalty. Stayed away from states that were on the way to do that. 

BA 

  • Reframed the idea of juvenile life without parole – “Sentenced to die in prison.” 

AR: What is the legacy you hope to leave and value most highly? 

BA 

  • Family – sons, grandchildren, and each other. 
  • After controversy during the Obama campaign, wrote for therapy and published “Public Enemy”, which is really a book about parenting. 

BD 

  • After kids left, they cared for their parents.  

AR: Are there practical tools you use to keep yourself motivated and inspiring youth? 

BA 

  • Youth inspire THEM. 
  • They are personally happy and the world is broken. Necessary to put yourself proximate to the suffering you see.  
  • Their work is challenging the dominant narrative – white superiority and Black inferiority. 
  • Have to stay hopeful, not optimistic, because that implies you know what outcome will be. The day before the revolution, it is unthinkable. Looking back, it is inevitable. 
  • When Jon Burge was convicted of torturing Black men into convictions is sparked a movement for reparations.  BLM took it over the top. City apologized and paid reparations. Amazing accomplishment happened because many movements came together. 

AR: White people are trapped in history we don’t understand. What is the danger of being too passive or too active?  

BD 

  • Reminder that we as white people need to check in with others on a regular basis.  
  • Benefits of white supremacy requires us to use the steps Bill articulated. 
  • There is peril in not getting buy-in from everyone who is a stakeholder to an issue, but is not a reason for inaction.  
  • Going back and evaluating consequences of actions is important. 

BA 

  • The 1619 Project is essential. Trump responded by forming the 1776 commission, report released on MLK day. Has his students read them side by side.  
  • You don’t have to do everything – can you do something? Connect to other somethings. Join with other like-minded people.  

BD 

  • If you are a single issue person, you are vulnerable and weaker.  
  • When two big issues come together you are stronger. Intersectionality – consider how issues are connected. 

BA 

  • Value in reframing the issue 

BD 

  • Corporate interests and military are counter to just society — need to take back everything that makes US a world power to make the country better. Take pentagon budget and put into climate and education. Need to build grass roots power and be wary of corporate power. 

BA 

  • Need to be willing to engage in dialogue 
  • Thinks he is in the majority of the country on the top 10 issues. 
  • Example of speech at the University of Georgia. Hell’s angels took places in the front row to intimidate him. Reframing of issue led to an interesting and substantive conversation.  They went to lunch together to continue the discussion. 

BD 

  • Expect the unexpected. Elimination of cash bail in Illinois – setting agenda for the country. Be ready for opportunities. 

AR: What are the best ways to leverage social media? 

BA 

  • Ask a 10 year old. They are not proficient at using social media 

AR: What advice do you have about how to forward an Affordable Housing agenda after all the actions AR has taken? 

BA 

  • Movement building – research, thinking, engaging others. Rahm Emanual closed schools but proposed cop academy. Young people in Garfield Park asked a different question – what would you do with $95M? Reframe the issue.  

BD 

  • Sports, music, theater – conscious efforts to reach out beyond the obvious and comfort zone can make a difference what you are building and where support comes from. 
  • Witness what youth poets are doing in Chicago at Louder Than A Bomb Youth Poetry Festival – amazing community building fueling movements. 

BA 

  • If Biden is going to champion progressive initiatives it will be due to popular fire from below. Environmental justice advocates got the administration appointments they wanted. Obama was against gay marriage at first;  advocates kept on working and changed the narrative.  

AR: What are resources to teach children about social justice? 

BA 

  • Alison Bechdel published Fun Home and Dykes to Watch Out For. Bechdel test for whether media is anti-sexist – two woman characters that have names and talk to each other about something other than men. 
  • Black Lives Matter in Schools and An Indigenous Peoples History  of the United States for children 
  • (On engaging with people with different world views) Don’t see having a civil conversation with people who want to overthrow the government. Hells Angels experience – usually a way to reframe the issue.  

BD 

  • Humor is also an excellent way to break the ice. 

BA 

  • Lecture is didactic; humor is inclusive. 

BD 

  • Mothers of people on death row were instrumental to overturning death penalty. Humanized the people on death row. 
  • The Feminist on Cellblock Y is a film that humanizes the incarcerated.  

BA 

  • Often accused of being an idealist. He wants to have an ideal that he is looking toward. He is not naïve, wants to learn and see more. 
  • Utopia always moves away as you step towards it. What good is walking toward it? Keeps you walking. Need to love the world enough to keep working to change it. 

Nan thanked Bill and Bernardine and the participants in the discussion. 

She acknowledged Melvin Lars who wrote Just an Ordinary Joe’George and is a host for Civic Dinners.  Sign up on-line for Bridging the Racial Divide. 

Meeting ended at 8:55pm 

Meeting minutes submitted by Alissa Goldwasser and Nan Parson 

Featured

Residential Tenant Landlord Ordinance Passes!

On January 28, 2021, Cook County Commissioners voted unanimously to extend protections to 245,000+ suburban renter households in Cook County! The Residential Tenant Landlord Ordinance (RTLO) will:Create safeguards against illegal lockouts and guidance on when a landlord can enter a unit Create procedures for withholding rent until building problems are addressed. Protect against lease terms that waive the basic tenant right to notices. Prevent landlords from charging outrageous late fees for late rent payments. Prohibit excessive security deposits and certain non-refundable “move-in” fees…and more. The RTLO goes into effect June 1; however, the anti-lockout provision takes effect immediately.For thirty years, renters living in Chicago, Evanston, and Mount Prospect have benefited from municipal ordinances defining basic tenant-landlord rights and responsibilities. Now, the Residential Tenant Landlord Ordinance (RTLO) will protect suburban Cook County renters, as well.Overall, the proposed ordinance clarifies the roles and responsibilities for both renters and landlords—making the rental landscape easier and fairer to navigate for everyone.
Learn more »
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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

Nan Parson Urges City Council to add Affordable Housing, DEI Training, Restorative Justice, and more, to the Park Ridge Strategic Plan

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:

  1. Increase affordable housing, which can often enable members of minority groups to live here.
  2. Provide DEI training for all City Staff, elected and appointed officials, residents, and businesses.
  3. Use restorative justice methods to get at the root causes of disruptive physical and verbal attacks and to deal with such behavior.
  4. See that the off-duty policeman who assaulted a young teen-ager be brought to justice.
  5. 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.

Nan Parson

Co-founder and Chair of Action Ridge

Affordable Housing Advocacy Group Meeting Minutes ~ August 22, 2022

Location of meeting:  Via Zoom

Time meeting was called to order: 7:00pm

Attendees:  Kristin Berg, Nan Parson, Marilyn Novak, Jeanne Wells, Melani Kaplan, Beverly Copeland, Bob Burkhart, Mary Elsner

  1. City moving very slowly on Comp Plan and Housing Plan.

There was a discussion about meeting with elected and appointed officials and what is allowable under the Open Meetings Act.  If one or two people meet with an official to discuss general issues and policies such as housing, it should be ok as long as there is no specific discussion about an item before the commission or council.  There may be some meetings scheduled with the purpose of providing educational resources and information.

  • Mwende Lefler was appointed as 7th Ward Alderman on 7/18/22.
  • Nan’s Letter to City Council regarding the Strategic Plan 

Nan plans to read her letter referencing DEI issues at the 9/6/22 City Council meeting.  Points include: DEI training for city staff; statement that Park Ridge is an open and welcoming community;  there is a need for more AH.

  • Infographics, social media posts and timeline for release; strategy for messaging

The group discussed the 2 fact sheets, one with general facts about AH and one more specific to Park Ridge.  Both will be used.  Kristin will work on shortening and formatting the information.  These can be distributed to the public and to city officials as part of an education process.

Action Ridge does not have a formal mechanism to back a “consensus” position but can and does offer educational resources.

  • LWV representatives from regional LWV groups met on 8/15/22 and talked about the current AH issues in their communities.  Resources will be shared among the group and members are tasked with coming up with 2 goals to move the needle forward in their towns.  The next meeting is 10/24/22.
  • Upcoming Events
    • AR General Meeting on September 14th at 7:00pm at the PR Community Church.  Agenda items include: establishment of a Nominating Committee for officer elections in January;  a plan for upcoming elections.
    • AR Diversity Discussion Group.  Next meeting is September 28th at 7:00pm on Zoom.  The group will be reading “The Overstory” by Richard Powers. The topic is environmental justice.     
        
  • Time Meeting Adjourned:  8:16pm
  • Next Meeting Date:  Thursday, September 29th at 7:00pm via Zoom

Meeting Minutes ~ September 14, 2022

Meeting began at 7:00pm

Nan welcomed the attendees and those bringing guests introduced their friends.

Committee Updates

Affordable Housing – Kristin Berg and Nan Parson

  • The Affordable Housing Committee has met monthly since 2021.
  • They have produced materials including draft petitions, infographics, social media flyers, and educational fact sheets to be ready for moments when affordable housing is in the spotlight.
  • Representatives from the Metropolitan Mayor’s Caucus have not been available yet to work with Park Ridge on the comprehensive plan according to an answer at the recent Planning &Zoning Committee meeting.
  • The strategic plan is a tactical blueprint for developing Park Ridge that guides City staff. The comprehensive plan is meant to be a vision for the whole city.

Book Discussion Group – Karen Banks-Lubicz

The group is reading The Overstory by Richard Powers for the next book discussion. Noreen Gayford suggested Gunfight by Ryan Busse for the following book.

Human and Civil RightsCynthia Kater

Cynthia is interested in organizing a group to march locally at the same time as the Women’s March in DC on October 8.

Nan mentioned that Action Ridge will host students from local high schools’ Students Organized Against Racism (SOAR) groups in an upcoming meeting. Michael Rabbitt will also be back to talk about the history of lynching and the effects of racial violence through the years until today.  Several members of Action Ridge are also involved in the Maine South Community for Equity (MSCE), a group of committee members that support diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives at Maine South.

Environment

  • A committee rep was not available to speak, but Amy Bartucci discussed the VOTE YES coalition to strengthen Cook County’s forest preserves.
  • The referendum would mean that property taxes would increase by about $20 annually for an average household.
  • More about the effort is at https://www.voteyesforestpreserves.org.

Gun Violence Prevention – Noreen Gayford , Joan Bludeau Lavelle, and Mimi McInerney

  • Noreen and Joan have been involved in many gun violence prevention initiatives since this summer including organizer calls, a WTTW community news conversation, a meeting with Senator Laura Murphy, and a Moms Demand Action post card campaign.
  • The meeting with Senator Murphy helped gain insight into how legislation develops and how important witness slips are to the process.
  • A vote on a measure to ban assault weapons will come up soon; more information to come.
  • One Aim (formerly known as GPAC) has a new mission labeled “Halt the Assault”, need 71 in the House and 36 in the Senate to pass the bill. The GVP team will let us know when to take action in support of the bill to ban assault weapons.

Policing and Criminal Justice – Alissa Goldwasser and Kristen Olson

  • The Coffee with the Chief on July 19 featured a discussion about the Park Ridge Police Department’s response to incidents involving mental health crisis. Geri Silic talked about her role as the Department social worker.
  • The incident involving an off-duty Chicago cop kneeling on the back of a Park Ridge teenager in early July has resulted in felony charges against the cop.
  • District 64’s Board briefly revisited the idea of engaging school resource officers (SROs) for the two middle schools. Community members objected to the lack of information and opportunity to community conversation. The Board ceased discussions at this time.
  • Members of Action Ridge worked with others to begin organizing a workgroup to look at the reasons and possible solutions for the spate of youth-involved nuisance/criminal incidents this year. The effort did not move forward but might be addressed in some way through City government.

Voting and Elections – Pat Lofthouse and Chris Parson

  • Pat overviewed the concept of ranked choice voting and talked about how several municipalities and Alaska have recently used the method in elections.
  • Senator Laura Murphy has sponsored a bill to introduce ranked choice voting in Illinois.
  • If you have moved or need to register the deadline to vote is October 11 by mail, October 23 online, and November 8 (election day) in person. 
  • The Park District referendum for redeveloping the Oakton property is $33 million, which would pay for renovating the ice arena, building a new studio rink, and an indoor turf area. (Chris’ post-meeting edit: The renovation and construction would cause 32 mature trees to be removed.)

Nan announced that Action Ridge is looking for people to form a nominating committee to develop a slate for 2023 officers.

Meeting ended at 8:20pm.

Minutes submitted by Alissa Goldwasser and Nan Parson.

Action Ridge and The League of Women Voters Team up to Promote the Vote!

9.8.22 – It’s worth a trip to the Park Ridge Library to see the awesome posters that Action Ridge created in cooperation with the League of Women Voters Park Ridge.  The display cases are located on the second floor around the corner from the Business Office.  The posters contain all the information one needs to register to vote, change your registration, find your polling place, see what’s on your ballot, and where to go to get answers to your questions about voting. 

You can also find information about when early voting starts, mail-in voting, and all the various deadlines.  You’ll see how to access the consolidated bar associations’ evaluations for judges.  And, last but not least, you’ll find the exact wording of the two referendums that are on the ballot – Park Ridge Park District Oakton Park Referendum and the Cook County Forest Preserve District Referendum.

And, if you can’t make it to the library, just look below!

Affordable Housing Advocacy Group Meeting Minutes ~ July 11, 2022

Date: July 11, 2022

Location of meeting:  Via Zoom

Time meeting was called to order: 7:04pm

Attendees:  Kristin Berg, Nan Parson, Kathy Rosling, Marilyn Novak, Jeanne Wells

  1. City moving very slowly on Comp Plan and Housing Plan.
    1. City confirmed that the Community Survey is not related to the Comprehensive Plan.  Drew Awsumb said on 6/17 that the Comp Plan is in a “holding pattern”.  At PZC meeting 6/28, Claudia Hampel said Drew is still working on creating the stakeholder survey
    1. Due to lack of action or communication about the Comp Plan or a Housing Plan, Kristin will email Drew Awsumb and request a meeting to inquire about any timeline, progress, etc.
  • 7th Ward Alderman candidates. At the time of the meeting there was no information as to the selected candidate.  Since then, the agenda for the 7/18 City Council Meeting indicates that the Mayor will recommend that Mwende Lefler be appointed as the Alderman.  Her resume is attached.
  • Infographics, social media posts and timeline for release; strategy for messaging
    • There was a discussion about connecting QR codes to a fact sheet about AH in Park Ridge.  Kristin will work on a fact sheet.
    • Connect QR codes to petition?  We may do that in the future.
    • Kathy has several resident stories through the Center of Concern.
  • LWV representatives from regional LWV groups to meet on 8/15 to discuss the possibility of creating an informal coalition of our local leagues to address local housing needs and initiatives.  Kristin will attend meeting and report back.
  • New Business
  • There was a discussion about the possibility of Action Ridge joining the Chamber of Commerce to increase the visibility of the organization and network with community leaders.  Nan will contact them in September to find out more and if there would a charge.
  • Upcoming Events
    • AR Meeting July 13 at 7:00pm at Sweet & Tart.  We will be hosting Jason Ivy, a musician who told his story in the First-Hand series on PBS.  He will tell us more about himself and describe the hard work required to be a successful artist in segregated Chicago.  We’re hopeful that he’ll share his music with us, too.
    • Conversation about policing and mental health at Sweet & Tart from 2-3pm on July 19.  Action Ridge invites you to the rescheduled conversation hour with members of the Park Ridge Police Department about police response to situations involving people with mental health challenges. Chief Frank Kaminski and PRPD Social Worker Geri Silic will be on hand to discuss the Department’s work in this area and to answer questions about any other policing-related issues.
    • AR Diversity Discussion Group.  Next meeting is July 27th at 7:00pm on zoom.  The group will be reading book is “Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood” by Trevor Noah. The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.  Books are available now upstairs at the library.     
        
  • Time Meeting Adjourned:  8:15pm                                           
  • Next Meeting Date:  Monday, August 22nd at 7:00pm via Zoom

Reproductive Rights Resources

Steaming mad about SCOTUS overturning Roe v Wade? The best first thing you can do is make an ongoing donation to a reputable organization on the front lines of this fight. Recurring donations help organizations reliably plan and budget.

Donating to and spreading the word about organizations that help those seeking abortions do so safely is another positive action to take now and on an ongoing basis.

Here’s a list to get you started:

National Network of Abortion Funds
https://secure.actblue.com/donate/supportabortionfunds?refcode=future-coalition&amount=25&link_id=7&can_id=3b37c2a9f6233ab028d57b41d51f7c50&source=email-roe-v-wade-overturned-take-action-now-2&email_referrer=email_1586508&email_subject=support-nationwide-abortion-fund-networks&refcodeEmailReferrer=email_1586508

Local Network of Abortion Funds
https://abortionfunds.org/funds/

Planned Parenthood
https://www.plannedparenthood.org/planned-parenthood-illinoisOther Resources

AidAccess
Can mail abortion-inducing medication; offers advance provision of medication. https://aidaccess.org/

If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice
Provides legal advice; confidential help line; legal defense fund.
https://www.ifwhenhow.org/

Miscarriage and Abortion Hotline
Support and resources for self-managing miscarriage or abortion
https://www.mahotline.org/

Digital Defense Fund
Provides digital security services to keep reproductive healthcase choices secure and private
https://digitaldefensefund.org/ddf-guides/abortion-privacy

I Need an A
Ineedana.com
Locates nearest abortion provider


Meeting Minutes ~ June 8, 2022

Action Ridge General Meeting
June 8, 2022

Meeting commenced at 7:00pm.

Nan introduced Dr. Ben Collins.

Featured Speaker: Dr. Ben Collins, Principal of Maine South High School
Dr. Collins discussed the ways in which Maine South, along with the other Maine Township high schools have been working to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the school.
The work has been challenging but invigorating at Maine South. There are approximately 2,500 students representing 1,900 families, so many different backgrounds and viewpoints co-exist.

Maine South is fairly diverse culturally. There are many students whose families have recently come from Eastern Europe, some from Ukraine. Many students are first generation. There are also many students who come from families who have been in Park Ridge for generations.

The school has a multi-pronged plan to help all students thrive.

Acknowledge, recognize, and celebrate different cultural backgrounds
• The school observes a diversity of holidays, celebrate customs.
• Departments weave discovery about different people, places, and events in the course curriculum.

Foster individual student identity
• The school holds listening sessions organized around student identities, but anyone can come.
• This was the fourth year of this practice and additional listening sessions have been added over the years.

Advisory Sessions
• There is time set aside each month in students’ schedules to work directly with students on lessons about acceptance and inclusion.
• One month, the students watched a video about microaggressions and discussed it.
• Next year, the school will build on these lessons for sophomores, juniors and seniors. At the end of four years there will be leveled curriculum for each year at the school. This not only improves the climate at Maine South, but prepares students to enter the world beyond high school where an understanding of different people’s experiences will be vital.

Policy
• The school loosened the dress code to allow for religious expression as well as individual student identity.
• Disciplinary measures have moved away from punitive consequences and moved toward restorative justice.
• Changes in the grading process consider equity.

Staff Education
• The school holds training for teachers about how to address instances of bigotry.
• Maine South is involved with SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity), an organization that helps train educators to promote principles of social justice in their schools.
• Maine South is also working with the primary schools that feed into the high school (sending schools) on equity initiatives.
• Each department and team has book studies that help them better understand issues of equity.

District 207 and Maine South have district- and building-level equity teams made up of staff. Next year, Maine South is considering building a student equity leadership team.
Maine South has a chapter of SOAR (Student Organized Against Racism).

Q&A
Why isn’t there a ‘no hate’ banner at Maine South, but there are at Maine East and Maine West?
Maine South has a different student-designed banner. The idea of the “We believe…” banner was a source of strong differences across the school community and a distraction from the work that was taking place inside the school.

How does Maine South attract and retain a diverse teaching staff?
They have done intentional recruiting and more people of color have applied. Changing the overall diversity of the staff will be slow since they don’t hire that many new teachers at a time.
They hold listening sessions for teachers belonging to different identity groups, as they do with the students. The feedback has generally been that interactions with the students and staff have been good. Parents, however, sometimes treat teachers of color differently. The school endured harassment from parents last year about many different issues; they will not tolerate it going forward.

How do you explain the diversity, equity, and inclusion work to parents?
The administration listens to the concerns of parents and genuinely is attuned to understanding where the school has fallen short. Most people who initially push back against DEI initiatives understand, if not support it, after a meeting with administration.

How does Maine South address the danger presented by the potential for school shootings?
The key is to make every student feel like they are a part of the school. They have to watch for humor that turns into teasing which ends up in bullying.
The school has strong safety protocols in place. Mental health has never been worse among high school students. Suicide remains a major concern.

Do students talk to their parents about equity?
Some do and some don’t.

Other Items
Amy Bartucci explained the mission of a group led by parents and community members called Maine South Community for Equity. The group aims to support the equity initiatives within the school. Anyone interested can contact Amy at aeb925@gmail.com.

Nan reported that Jason Ivy, a Chicago-based musician who was also profiled in the WTTW Firsthand: Segregation series, may join Action Ridge at the July 13 meeting.

Committee Updates
Environmental – Tim Milburn
Park Ridge is developing ordinances that are making it easier to have solar panels.
There is planning underway for a Solar Tour on September 25. Currently, 70 homes in Park Ridge have solar panels, up from just seven, five years ago.

Park Ridge may also take up EV-readiness, including the availability of electric vehicle charging stations. Tim is the project manager for this effort in this area.

There are legislative initiatives in Springfield. Some may come up in November, including equity and the environment and shutting down coal power plants.

Policing and Criminal Justice – Alissa Goldwasser and Kristen Olson
A reminder that Action Ridge will host a coffee conversation with the Park Ridge Police Department on June 14 at 2pm at Off The Wall. The theme of the meeting will be the intersection of mental health and policing. Geri Silic, the Department’s social worker, will be on hand to answer questions.

Affordable Housing – Kristin Berg and Nan Parson
The comprehensive plan is moving slowly; there isn’t a specific timeline. The effort will start with City Council, not Planning & Zoning.
There is a survey on the city website asking about what is important in the community. Several people in attendance had questions about what it is for and whether it can capture interest in affordable housing.

Voting and Elections – Chris Parson
Sunday is the last opportunity to register to vote for the general primary elections on June 28. Early voting begins on Monday. The next two years could be the most important that this country has ever had to elect leaders. Consult the League of Women Voters’ https://illinoisvoterguide.org/.

Book Discussion Group – Karen Banks-Lubicz
The group will discuss See No Stranger by Valarie Kaur. Copies of the book are in the reader service’s section of the library. The discussion will take place on June 22 via Zoom.

Gun Violence Prevention – Noreen Gayford and Joan Bludeau Lavelle
Nationwide March for our Lives events are taking place on June 11. Chicago-area marchers can take part at the Federal building on Dearborn or in Palatine on Quentin Road. Both marches begin at noon.

HR7910 would Increase the age to 21 to buy an automatic rifle, prevent gun trafficking, regulate ghost guns, mandate safe storage, and close the bump stock loophole.

There are efforts in other parts of the country to pass legislation that would arm school personnel. This effort hasn’t been strong in Illinois, but it could gain momentum.
Activists should be ready to contact schools/districts in opposition.

Meeting ended at 8:25pm.

Minutes submitted by Alissa Goldwasser and Nan Parson.

Affordable Housing Advocacy Group Meeting Minutes ~ June 6, 2022

Date: June 6, 2022

Location of meeting:  Via Zoom

Time meeting was called to order: 7:04pm

Attendees:  Kristin Berg, Nan Parson, Kathy Rolsing, Karen Banks-Lubicz, Kate Kerin, Jeanne Wells, Melani Kaplan, Marilyn Novak

Agenda Items:

  1. City moving slowly on Comp Plan and Housing Plan
    1. There is no new information on when the city will begin work on the Comprehensive Plan or a Housing Plan to be filed with the state.  The City Manager stated that work on the Housing Plan will begin with the Metropolitan Mayor’s Caucus, but no dates were given.  It will start with City Council, who will then decide what role PZC will take.
    1. The city is reviewing the requirement that comments on city agenda items be submitted 72 hours prior to the meeting.  With agendas coming out less than 1 business day prior to meetings at times, this does not allow enough time for citizens to submit timely comments.
    1. There is a new Community Survey posted on the city’s website.  “The 2022 Community Survey will be used to help the City Council make decisions that affect our community. The results will be used as a baseline to help clearly define the City’s vision and mission.”  The survey has not been well-advertised and there is no indication of who wrote it and why it is coming out now.  The survey is open until 7/20 and residents should fill it out.  There are only a couple of questions that mention Housing (7 and 8), but a couple of other questions allow limited opportunities to write something in.  Kristin will try to find out more about it.
    1. Wilmette is working on an update to their Comprehensive Plan.  One of HODC’s board members lives in Wilmette.  Kristin will ask him if they are using the Metropolitan Mayor’s Caucus or another group as a consultant.
  • Infographics, social media posts and timeline for release; strategy for messaging
    • There was a discussion of 2 draft social media posts, and it was decided that:
      • The QR code should link to a page on the AR website that has contact information for people to email City Council and PZC, since that is what we are asking in the post.
      • The QR code or another type of link should also allow viewers of the post to get to the Petition created in support of AH in Park Ridge.  We will need to explore the technology necessary to accomplish this.
      • The white lettering in the red box should be in a bolder font.
      • The image should use “alt text” so that it is described in text for those who cannot see it.
  • Upcoming Events:
    • AR Meeting June 8 at 7:00pm at the Community Church and virtual on zoom. Maine South HS Principal Dr. Ben Collins will talk about how MS is working to make sure all feel comfortable at school.
    • Gun Violence Prevention – Wear orange on June 3,4, and 5 in support of sensible gun laws.
    • AR Diversity Discussion Group.  Next meeting is June 22nd at 7:00pm on zoom.  The group will be reading “See No Stranger”.  
    • Policing and Criminal Justice.  Meet with Chief Kaminski and social worker Geri Silic as they discuss how police respond to situations involving those with mental health challenges.  June 14th at Off the Wall, 2-3pm.

Time Meeting Adjourned:  7:42pm                                                         

Next Meeting Date:  Monday, July 7th at 7:00pm via Zoom

Affordable Housing Advocacy Group Meeting Minutes ~ May 12, 2022

Date: May 12, 2022

Location of meeting:  Via Zoom

Time meeting was called to order: 7:00pm

Attendees:  Kristin Berg, Nan Parson, Kathy Rosling, Karen Banks-Lubicz, Kate Kerin, Jen Panattoni

We all introduced ourselves as we have a new member, Jen Panattoni.  She asked if we had language or talking points used to communicate with others about affordable housing.  Kristin will send her the petition we developed and other information on affordable housing.  We discussed the need for a “one pager” of talking points.

Agenda Items:

  1. Drew Awsumb’s presentation to City Council on 5/5 on an Affordable Housing Plan
    1. Gave council a memo created by one of the city attorneys that describes the mandated Housing Plan. (Memo and presentation are available in the city archives on the meetings page of the city website)
    1. There were questions from council members about updating the number of affordable units in Park Ridge as maybe we are at or above 10%.  IHDA will not be updating the numbers until 2023, and we have to go by the 8% number determined in 2018 when they last updated.  A plan should be filed by the end of the year.
    1. The city will get started by bringing in the Metropolitan Mayor’s Caucus to function as a consultant to update data and advise as to how other nearby communities have addressed a shortage of affordable housing in their plans.  They will present to council either 5/16 or 5/23
    1. It is not clear whether council or PZC will be drafting the Housing Plan.  Kristin will check in with the City Manager about that.
  • PZC cancelled its last 2 meetings (4/26 and 5/10) so has not taken up the Comp Plan yet
    • No information as to when the commission will discuss the Comp Plan
    • Kristin will continue to review their agendas when posted
  • Infographic for Affordable Housing
    • There was a discussion about the infographic and what the timing should be on when to post around town and in social media
    • Jen, our new member, has experience in marketing and social media and has offered to create social media posts to help spread the word about the need for affordable housing in our town.
    • We will begin to share posts when closer to the city holding public discussions on the topic.  We don’t want to lose momentum by distributing too long before the city takes it up
    • Kate will look into possible “table events” such as the Farmer’s Market that we could attend and have information on housing available
  • Stories from those who need AH in Park Ridge
    • We discussed developing a second infographic focusing more on the personal, emotional aspects of those in need of more affordable housing
    • We continue to gather stories from those who may be willing to share their experience either in writing, at public meetings, or on video.
  • Upcoming Events:
    • AR Meeting May 11 at 7:00pm at the Community Church and virtual on zoom. Action Ridge will present three stories taken from the PBS documentary series, First-Hand.
    • Neighbors Unite Against Hate at Jonquil Terrace Park, Sunday May 15th at 3:00. We’re hoping for “all-hands-on- deck” at this neighborhood event, the local version of the rally in Glenview, expanded to rebuke hate against others in all its forms.
    • AR Diversity Discussion Group.  Next meeting is May 25 at 7:00pm on zoom.  Our new book is “Why are all the Black Kids sitting together in the Cafeteria?” 
    • Vacancy for 7th Ward Alderman – 11 applications
    • HODC Open House May 20th, 3-6pm at HODC office building, 5340 Lincoln Avenue, Skokie
    • Memorial Day Parade.  Save the date and join Action Ridge in the Memorial Day Parade, Monday 5/30.  We will have position 65, South side of Talcott, just East of Prospect.  Vehicle S/B in place by 9:30. Lead unit steps off at 10:AM.  South Park fieldhouse restrooms will be open.

Time Meeting Adjourned:  8:25pm                                                         

Next Meeting Date:  Monday, June 6th at 7:00pm via Zoom

Meeting Minutes ~ May 11, 2022

Action Ridge General Meeting

May 11, 2022

Meeting commenced at 7:00pm

Nan welcomed everyone and thanked Scott Grau for figuring out an improved video setup.

Viewing of Nan’s segment on Firsthand: Segregation.

Discussion of Nan’s segment from the Firsthand discussion guide

Question prompt: What are the factors that have created segregation in Park Ridge?

Comments from attendees:

Federal actions incentivized white flight and steered investment to white communities. Also, there were discriminatory local policies both codified (covenants) and informal. Park Ridge never felt the need to accommodate people of color since there were “other” places for them to live in the area.

On a previous panel, one black woman who attended said that she would feel uncomfortable living in such a white community and that she couldn’t afford to live in Park Ridge. (This comment was revised to reflect Nan’s recollection of the woman’s comments at that previous panel.)

Making Park Ridge more diverse is a function of making it more affordable to live here.

There are not many people of color represented in the community already. A member remembered that a family of color that was renting here did not feel welcome – example of man being followed home by a Park Ridge police vehicle which sat outside his home for a while.

A member gave an example of a black man in Arlington Heights whose white friends felt he was accepted in community and were surprised that he wouldn’t ride his bike after dark in his own neighborhood.

A member recalled a black woman in Park Ridge feeling uncomfortable walking down the street.

When a member was living in San Francisco, one of her black friends took her and other white women to a bar where they were the only white people – feeling of discomfort.

A member used to do work at a Native American reservation. When they were first there, they and their hosts had to get comfortable with each other. Over time, they got very used to being with each other. The car she was in was speeding one time and got pulled over by the local police force. The officer had heard about them and ended up letting them off the hook.

Nan provided an update on Blue Island, our twin city. Fifteen people have gone to visit Blue Island. On Nan’s third visit, she felt much more comfortable. She has been speaking with Tonika Johnson and Maria Krysan about matching with individuals in Blue Island for deeper relationship-building.

Ann Kapustiak reminded that people of color may not be as interested in engaging in interactions that ultimately disproportionately benefit white people’s agenda. Nan agreed that it was a fine line.

Viewing of Jason Ivy’s segment on Firsthand: Segregation

General observations of Jason’s story:

Follow Jason on Spotify!

The segment illustrated the power of art for people to make connections, possibly a vehicle to make other connections with Blue Island.

Question prompt: Jason says that his school experiences formed his current views. How has your school experience shaped your view of race?

The member went to Maine East, when it was less diverse.

The member went to St. Paul and then her parents wanted her to go to Maine South, because she would know a few people. Her home was on the dividing line between Maine South and Maine East so it would have been feasible and closer for her to go to ME. She currently works for a non-profit that focuses on student equity and outcomes. She was surprised that the school hadn’t had air conditioning a year before.

The member lives in Niles where they could choose ME or MS for their children. Everyone assumed she would send her kids to Maine South. People talked of gang activity at ME. ME was a phenomenal experience for her son, who is white. Now most of his friends are people of color at college. Her daughter is of Guatemalan descent and has also had a great experience.

Nan’s son, Mark, was not happy at first to be going to ME, but ultimately was glad that he went there.

It is a challenge to think about how to cultivate relationships with people of color. Ann Kapustiak suggested that we try to have Jason Ivy play in Park Ridge.

Committee updates

Affordable Housing – Kristin Berg

At the May 2 City Council meeting Drew Awsumb made a presentation about the affordable housing plan and Park Ridge’s need to file a report.

Park Ridge asked the Metropolitan Mayor’s Caucus to make a presentation to consult with City Council on ways to create an affordable housing plan.

The committee has developed an infographic and petition that will be ready to circulate when the work gets going in earnest. They are looking for testimonials from people who are in need of less costly housing in Park Ridge.

Gun Violence Prevention – Noreen Gayford and Joan Bludeau Lavelle

They are working closely with GPAC – attending calls and publicizing actions. While Action Ridge can’t endorse candidates, we can collect and distribute a list of all candidates’ opinions regarding  gun legislation. (This comment was updated to reflect Action Ridge’s non-partisan status per Nan.)

June 3 – Moms Demand Action Day – wear orange to support sensible gun legislation.

Several bills were on Pritzker’s desk.

Gun Store Transparency Project – will hold sellers accountable.

There have been recent gun-related incidents in Park Ridge. A gun stolen from unlocked car on Stanley Ave and a loaded gun was found in Olympia Park.

Human Rights – Cynthia Kater

United Against Hate rally at Jonquil Terrace Park on May 15 at 3pm. Action Ridge is co-sponsoring with Cook County Commissioner Scott Britton’s office and Niles Coalition. Nan will open the event with comments.

Cynthia has been in contact with student groups at ME, MS, and Niles West representing student affinity groups. An adult speaker from Niles West will address hate directed towards these students at the rally.

Cynthia suggested organizing around issues of reproductive rights given the likely overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Diversity Discussion Group – Karen Banks-Lubicz

The group will discuss “Why are all the Black Kids sitting together in the Cafeteria?”  by Beverly Daniel Tatum, PhD on May 25 at 7pm via Zoom.  The book is available now at the library upstairs at Reader Services.  The group will also discuss meeting in person for future sessions.

Policing and Criminal Justice – Alissa Goldwasser and Kristen Olson

School Resource Officers – Alissa and Kristen continue to push for more rigorous reporting for the annual SRO evaluation. Their conversations with stakeholders have so far pointed to a program that is yielding positive outcomes for the school communities.

Lexipol – The police department just started working in earnest with Lexipol to update its hundreds of general orders based on current law and practice. Alissa and Kristen hope to get insight into the process in real time, but are prepared to compare new and old language once it is available to the public.

Uptown disturbances – Many of the uptown businesses have restricted young people’s access to their stores following incidents ranging from disrespectful behavior to property destruction. Police are trying to balance public safety without criminalizing young people. They are Increasing patrols, activating citizen watches, and establishing a more visible presence. They are not being heavy-handed when dealing with youth. 

Coffee Series – Action Ridge is piloting a series of monthly informal coffees for anyone who wants to come and have a discussion with leadership of the Park Ridge Police Department. Each month there will be a loose theme, but we expect that other questions and concerns will come up. The first session will take place July 14 at 2pm at Off the Wall at 104 Main Street. It will be an opportunity to meet with Geri Silic, the PD’s social worker and better understand the work she does and how it ties into the larger conversation of mental health and critical incident response.

Voting and Elections – Pat Lofthouse and Chris Parson

Rank-choice voting is gaining popularity. It is on a referendum in Evanston.  Park Ridge is unlikely to be a vanguard of this approach. Laura Murphy introduced in the State.

If you have moved, make sure that you register to vote; it can be done online. Mail-in ballots are currently available and early voting starts June 18. The League of Women Voters and Action Ridge may hold a candidate forum before the November elections.

Membership – Kate Kerin

Kate continues to push to expand and diversify membership. Please invite someone to the next meeting.

Upcoming events

May 12 – Affordable Housing Action Meeting

May 15 – Neighbors United Against Hate

May 25 – Book Discussion Group

May 30 – Memorial Day Parade

June 7 – Loving Together (a program celebrating LGBTQ+ faith affirmations) 7-8pm, First Methodist Church (418 W. Touhy)

Ann Kapustiak is working with the Maine Township high schools to engage interns around qualitative research related to affordable housing. Separately, she gave a presentation for a social studies class at Maine South about her research on segregation in Park Ridge.

Meeting ended at 8:56pm.

Minutes respectfully submitted by Alissa Goldwasser and Nan Parson.