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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.

Featured

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

Featured

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 »
Featured

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

Progress on Prevention of Gun Violence

A note from our tireless advocates for the Prevention of Gun Violence:

Good news, Action Ridge! Encouraging news on gun violence prevention is coming out of D.C. Yesterday, the House released FY22 CJS Bill. This Bill includes $299 million for community-based violence intervention! Congratulations to all — we helped get this going!

— Joan and Noreen

Action Ridge Impact on Equity in Law Enforcement

Action Ridge is having an impact on equity in law enforcement in Park Ridge, as evidenced by the three cultural competency training workshops provided by the Park Ridge Police Department in June.

The Park Ridge Police Department (PRPD) works with volunteer citizens groups on various initiatives, including carrying out patrols when the department deems it necessary. While Action Ridge continues to evaluate the propriety of this surveillance, the group suggested to Chief Frank Kaminski during a recent general meeting dedicated to policing that the citizen groups should have training in implicit bias and other issues related to equity. This past month, PRPD offered three cultural competency training opportunities to the citizens groups. Thirty-one volunteers took part in the training. The ability to dialogue with the police department will continue to be valuable as Action Ridge works to ensure fairness, equity, and decency related to policing in Park Ridge.

Illinois General Assembly Passes Gun Violence Policy ~ 6.17.21

Great news: today, June 17, 2021, the Illinois General Assembly passed policy to fight everyday gun violence and make Illinois safer for our children — and it’s thanks to your hard work.

The phone calls, emails, texts, and personal contacts of our coalition of gun violence survivors, advocates, faith leaders, health care professionals and law enforcement officials made the difference. Now,

Because of you, there will be a background check on every single gun sale in Illinois.

Because of you, the communities most impacted by gun violence will receive critical investments in mental health programs.

Because of you, the Illinois State Police will be empowered to take guns from those who have had their FOID cards revoked.

Because of you, law enforcement will be able to more easily track illegal guns, and get them off the street.

The epidemic levels of gun violence in Illinois have been hurting particularly our children and communities of color. This year, children have been shot at a rate three times higher than last year.

The bipartisan support for this policy shows how united we can be when a cause is important enough.

Thank you for answering the call and telling lawmakers: Our One Job is to keep kids safe. Today, it’s a little easier.

Presentation Slides: Affordable Housing Advocacy ~ 6.10.21

Presented by Guest Speaker Sue Loellbach, who works for Connections for the Homeless in Evanston and provides direct services to 41 municipalities. In/near Park Ridge, Northwest Compass and Journeys to Homes provide similar services.

Meeting Minutes & Recording ~ 6.10.21

Link to Recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TAVCvUEg14

General Announcements

Catherine Inserra shared her Peace Crane project. People can pick up kits with materials and instructions to make cranes at the Park Ridge Public Library. Promotes literacy and peace – “Peace Takes Flight” is the theme. The finished cranes will be an art installation in the children’s department of the library later this year.

Joan Lavelle and Noreen Gayford discussed the status of the BIO bill. The bill passed the Illinois House but fingerprinting caused movement to stall in the Senate. A meeting next Wednesday hopes to restart progress through the Senate with additional measures that address loopholes in previous legislation.

Nan Parson mentioned the work of the WIP group to rethink the structure of Action Ridge.

Kristin Berg talked about work toward promotion of affordable housing in Park Ridge. The next Affordable Housing committee meeting is June 23.

The Illinois Affordable Housing omnibus bill passed the legislature. It includes tax incentives for developers who set aside 20% of a project for affordable units, a tax break for low-income housing properties, and — important for Park Ridge —  an amendment to the affordable housing planning and appeals act that specifies that every municipality that is not exempt will have to file plans, including Park Ridge. There can be no more “home rule” claim for not filing a plan.

Kristin and Nan met with Jim Gilmore to discuss how work on the comprehensive plan can happen with more transparency.

The next general meeting is July 8 at 7pm. The next discussion group is on July 28 at 7pm. The book is Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist by Eli Saslow.

Karen Banks-Lubicz is working with the library to show The Long Shadow. It will be shown in September via streaming and the library and Action Ridge will host a  Q&A with director Frances Causey on September 16.

Pat Lofthouse drafted a letter to Chief Kaminski with suggestions about how the police focus on teen patrols could involve restorative justice. The current approach of involving citizen patrols to watch teen activity is worsening the relationship between teens and police and affecting teens who aren’t violating laws.

Fair Vote Illinois is still soliciting support for ranked-choice voting.  An informational link will be sent out.

Guest Speaker on Affordable Housing, Sue Loellbach

Sue appreciates the work of Action Ridge and underscored the importance of the work of social action groups in their respective communities to liaison with issue-based organizations that work statewide.

Sue works for Connections for the Homeless.  It’s located in Evanston but provides direct services to 41 municipalities. In/near Park Ridge, Northwest Compass and Journeys to Homes provide similar services.

The organization has four main pillars of Connections for the Homeless:

  • Shelter service (60-bed facility)
  • Housing programs
  • Eviction prevention
  • Advocacy (Joining Forces for Affordable Housing) – Taking a systematic approach to this issue

What is Affordable Housing?

Government definition: Housing that costs no more than 30% of income

Advocates definition: Housing that leaves you enough money to meet your basic needs

In north suburban Cook County public housing stock is pretty good and residents of public housing are generally paying no more than 30% of their gross income. However, there is typically not enough left over for basic needs among very low income households.

Those who don’t live in public housing but are in need of housing they can afford are not doing do well.  Mapping incomes to housing stock for Park Ridge shows that a renter would have to make $40-50K to afford a one-bedroom dwelling. If a renter makes any less, there aren’t enough options to live in the community.

Nearly 30% of households (approx. 4,000) in Park Ridge pay more than 30% of their income on housing. Not surprisingly, it is a bigger issue for lower-income households.

Housing is an equity issue – racial, socio-economic, disability, elderly, families are in need of housing that is affordable..

Affordable housing is the foundation for people to build well-being.

There are many different ways to address a lack of affordable housing, but the right tools must be used for individual communities. Some approaches address increasing resident income; others address decreasing housing cost/resident expense.

Barriers to progress

  • Organic change is going in the wrong way — housing will continue to get more expensive
  • Need a combination of the the right approaches for each individual community
  • Solutions need to be regional and local
  • Lack of political will (largest issue)

The pandemic highlighted the lack of political will to address homelessness.

During the pandemic, municipalities sheltered people in hotels, provided food, did laundry, etc.  But, of course, this was temporary.

Affordable housing is harder to understand than homeless shelters; there is an art to making it digestible.

It is a problem that both affordable housing stock and lower income residents are located in unincorporated areas. This might be something for Action Ridge to look at.

Jim Brown, former Community Preservation and Development Director of Park Ridge, addressed the group about his termination. Affordable housing is a hot potato issue. He said that he was fired solely due to his support for more affordable housing in Park Ridge and because of his criticism of procedures around the comprehensive plan.

He stated that Park Ridge has “exclusionary”, rather than inclusionary zoning. Contrary to recent news reports, he said that affordable housing developers have contacted the city with interest. However, zoning is much too restrictive to make it possible for those developers to be considered. Affordable housing developments are vigorously opposed by people in power here.

Jim believes that he made two mistakes — he underestimated the intense opposition to affordable housing and overestimated his ability to assuage fears. The “watered down” plan for affordable housing focused on accessory units and conversion of a small number of single family homes to two-flats. He stated that he lost his job over these issues.

Sue Loellbach said that change has to come from outside of government; residents may need to vote out leaders before change happens

The advocacy tool kit her organization provides can help Action Ridge navigate which types of discussions are even possible.

Catherine Inserra recalled that there was opposition to PADS in Park Ridge several years ago. It is interesting that efforts like Sunday Suppers have become embraced by the community but pushback on shelter is so intense.

While there are significant obstacles to an affordable housing agenda, there have also been meaningful advances: imminent signing of Illinois omnibus law, greater awareness in Park Ridge city council, and recent media coverage are three of those.

Meeting ended at 8:40pm  Submitted by Alissa Goldwasser

General Meeting ~ May 13, 2021

Panel on Law Enforcement in Park Ridge and Criminal Justice Reform in Illinois

Join our panel as they discuss local police policies regarding teens, improving public safety through social justice, actions for racial equity and the Illinois SAFE-T ACT. Email actionridge2017@gmail.com for a Zoom link to join the meeting. Please submit questions in advance to alyssasays@gmail.com.

Meeting Minutes ~ 4.8.21

US House passes most ambitious police reform effort in decades | US  Congress | Source: The Guardian

Meeting commenced at 7:00pm.

Nan Parson welcomed participants, especially Melvin Lars, who was the meeting’s featured speaker.

Nan reminded people to submit comments to the Park Ridge City Planning and Zoning Commission to encourage affordable housing to be included in the Park Ridge Comprehensive Plan. Letters can be sent to John Carlisle jcarlisle@parkridge.us.

To attend the meeting on April 13 at 7pm, register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7015097904321120782 .

Patricia Lofthouse overviewed a bill introduced by Senator Laura Murphy concerning ranked-choice voting (SB1785). This bill provides “that members of the General Assembly and the offices of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Comptroller, and Treasurer shall be elected by ranked-choice voting.” There are also ranked-choice voting initiatives in the City of Chicago and at 90+ universities. The bill was amended to include primary, state and national elections. Pat will be sending out witness slips.

The organization supporting ranked-choice voting, Fair Vote Illinois, has many meetings coming up. Pat encouraged members to attend if interested. Ranked-choice voting ensures that the winner of the election will have at least 51% of the vote. It brings more voters in, decreases negative campaigning, and gives voters more options to voice preferences.

George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021
Melvin Lars (ML) has been involved in advocating for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and knows the family of George Perry Floyd. The House passed the bill on March 3, 2021.

The main tenets of the bill are:
● Ban chokeholds
● Ban no-knock warrants
● Establish a national misconduct registry
● Collect data on use of deadly force
● Limit the use of deadly force only as a last resort
● Establish duty to intervene standards
● Mandate the use of body and dash cameras
● Establish national standards for law enforcement
● Invest in public grants to reimagine policing
● Strengthen patterns and practices investigations
● Make lynching a hate crime

There are 14 proposed amendments in all, four were addressed by Senate, only one by the administration
Last year, passed House by overwhelming vote, then sat on Mitch McConnell’s desk.
This year, passed the House again, hasn’t come to a vote in the Senate.
It is unclear if the trial of Derek Chauvin, the police officer accused of murdering George Floyd, will affect the course of the Act.
Defense is trying to show cause for someone to be murdered.
The family and community aren’t looking for anything that isn’t provided for in the Constitution.

Kate Kerin
Coalition of attorneys general urged congress to pass the bill. Will it have an impact?

ML
Not comfortable that the Senate will move forward. It’s hard to think that anything will change.

Joan Bludeau-LaVelle
Doctor’s testimony made it clear that it was a murder. Could it change the trajectory of the Bill?

ML
Testimony could do just that. He acknowledged that this was contradictory to his previous answer.

Joel Liveris
Why isn’t Melvin angry?

ML
He is angry. Just wants to be himself, not to be identified by race. Growing up in the Jim Crow South, he faced and faces racism all the time.

Question (from unidentified person)
The blue code was broken by officers testifying at the murder trial. Could this make a difference in other areas where police are unwilling to call each other out?

ML
ML’s 22-year-old cousin wanted to be a police officer. He couldn’t pass the psychological test. He figured out how to pass the test and became an officer anyway. Change is likely to be difficult.

Nan
Policing in Park Ridge is the topic of discussion for the May 13 Action Ridge meeting.
Action Ridge is taking stronger action and also getting some pushback. But we have to act locally to change things.

ML
Frustrated by the fallacy of Black people as lazy and not hard working. His experience growing up in the deep South was the opposite; community worked extremely hard for ridiculously low wages. His self-published book Just an Ordinary Joe’George discusses his story and those of his family members who have been successful in a range of professions. These profiles are juxtaposed with the names of young Black people who were killed and an open question about what their futures could have been. To purchase ML’s book, email him at abrighterfuture91@gmail.com.

Nan
The Action Ridge discussion group is reading Caste. ML also recommends The New Jim Crow and his own book.

The group said goodbye to Mr. Lars at 7:45 and those who preferred not to take part in the business part of the agenda, left the meeting.

Business Meeting
Liz Swanson and Nan started Action Ridge four years ago with intent to just have programs once a month. However, Action Ridge as evolved into a more influential entity, known for the progressive point of view of the members of the group. Now Nan and Liz suggest that in order to ensure the longevity of the organization, to spread out the responsibility for planning programs and to provide more structure, changes need to be made.

A few weeks ago, a small group met to talk about the advisability of adopting a non-profit status. Decided not to file for 501(c)3 or 501(c)4 at this time because it would have created more work for leadership, rather than less.

The question is, can AR establish a structure without incorporation?

Joel Liveris
Could we create a list of tasks so that people would know how to divide the responsibility?

Nan
They are considering establishing a board with officers and term limits. Go Green Park Ridge has a board. They meet to report to each other and then go off and do their own work. League of Women’s Voters is very different — very structured and has a board and state and national structure that guides the local group.

Alissa
Could core leaders group take on more of a role as a leadership team that does planning for the long-term?

Kristin Berg
Perhaps mission statement could be a little more focused. Could there be committees working on issues as well as having speakers? Defining level of action would help determine structure.

Nan
Action Ridge is no longer here just to educate people. It’s time to dedicate to the cause and take action. Institute for Non-violence take-aways were: gather the facts, educate, dedicate to the cause and then take action.

Liz
Mission statement guides us to action. Work to figure out how to take action.

Sue McGovern
Grateful to have met other like-minded people through Action Ridge.

Jeanne
Question of non-partisanship is a good one. Should we consider supporting candidates who share our values?

Linda
Becoming politically involved might affect where we meet (perhaps not in a church).

Liz
Immediate need is a structure, can decide on partisanship question after that.

Alissa
Perhaps AR should think about leadership team on a 12-month basis with positions turning over annually so people don’t feel like they are taking on too much.

Joel
Would like to volunteer to be point person for climate initiative.

Kate
Flexibility has been Action Ridge’s strong suit — addressing topics in a timely manner. We have a Core Leader’s meeting scheduled for May 6th in which we can consider these questions.

Alissa
Sketching out a 12-month plan while being willing to deviate, if necessary, might provide the combination of structure and flexibility needed.

Liz
At the Core Leaders meeting on May 6th, we can draft a structure and plan to share with the larger group at the next general meeting. The decision was made to continue this discussion on May 6th.

Meeting ended at 8:38pm