Educating Ourselves to Fight Racism
Updated: Mar 31
View Statement as PDF
Village President, Village Board of Trustees, Village Manager
Glen Ellyn Civic Center
535 Duane Street
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
Subject: Invitation to Community Event to Fight Racism
Dear Village President, Village Board of Trustees, and Village Manager,
In the midst of a pandemic and a reckoning on race relations, both of which impact our entire nation, we have a unique opportunity here in Glen Ellyn to bring our community together, and to help us better understand what we need to learn or relearn to fight racism.
Glenbard District 87’s Glenbard Parent Series (GPS), partnering with One Community, is offering a Community Read event with Jason Reynolds*, Library of Congress National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and renowned author of Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You (adaptation of National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi) and Long Way Down. This event, which most likely will take place virtually, is scheduled for September 29 at 7:00 pm.
We urge you, our village leaders, to not only take advantage of this opportunity but wholeheartedly embrace it. We ask you to please commit to “attending” this event as a Village Board. Purchase** or check out one or both of these books. Mark this event on your calendars, and attend the event whether it is live, or virtual on Zoom provided by College of DuPage. We ask you to urge your staff and family members to do the same. It is our hope that you will promote this opportunity on the Village of Glen Ellyn’s platforms, not only as a GPS and One Community event, but as a Village of Glen Ellyn event.
This is too important a conversation, too timely an opportunity, and not to be missed. Aside from purchasing a book, the event is free. It’s easy to take these steps. Talking about race, however, is not so easy or comfortable, but we as a community need to make the effort and seize these opportunities when they present themselves. We look to our local leaders to be role models as we attempt to move forward.
Let me share with you that we are already trying to engage one another in conversations. One Community, the Glen Ellyn Police Department, and Glenbard District 87 administrators, staff, and Black students have been engaging in conversations these past two months to hear personal accounts and determine what we can do to improve relationships between Black residents and police.
Jason Reynolds included the following message in a note to his young readers at the end of Stamped,
“We can’t attack a thing we don’t know. That’s dangerous. And...foolish. It would be like trying to chop down a tree from the top of it. If we understand how the tree works, how the trunk and roots are, where the power lies, and how gravity is on our side, we can attack it, each of us with small axes, and change the face of the forest. So let’s learn all there is to know about the tree of racism. The root. The fruit. The sap and trunk. The nests built over time, the changing leaves. That way, your generation can finally, actively chop it down.”
We have attached a flyer regarding this event and truly hope you will consider joining us in declaring your participation in this important opportunity.
Dr Sania Irwin, President, One Community
Dr James Shannon, Pastor, Peoples Community Church, Glen Ellyn & One Community Board Member
Dr David Larson, Superintendent, Glenbard District 87
Kristin Malone & Erica Nelson, Co-Presidents, League of Women Voters of Glen Ellyn
Dawn Bussey, Director, Glen Ellyn Public Library
Tom Bartenfelder, Director, Glenside Public Library District, Glendale Heights
Susan Westgate, Director, Carol Stream Public Library
Barb Kruser, Executive Director, Helen Plum Library, Lombard
* You can listen to Jason Reynolds on CBS This Morning at https://youtu.be/qQ2RD6f0ULQ.
** The books are being offered at the Bookstore in Glen Ellyn. Proceeds will benefit the Northern Illinois Food Bank or another countywide charity of your choice.