Naperville Neighbors United: A Diversity Discussion

Naperville residents came together for a diversity discussion at City Hall. The event was organized by Naperville Neighbors United, a committee formed under Councilman Benny White. The discussion comes on the heels of a controversial statement made by State Representative Anne Stava-Murray, claiming Naperville has ‘white supremacist policies”. Councilman White said now is the time for Naperville to look in the mirror and have an honest conversation about the city’s history, it’s current standing, and how it can improve.

Diverse Panelists

A variety of community members with experience in diversification sat in on Wednesday night’s diversity discussion.

  • Saily Joshi, Parent Diversity Advisory Council
  • Donna Sack, Naper Settlement
  • Roger Singh Chawla, An active member of the Sikh community
  • Regina Brennan, President & Founder of Unity Partnership
  • Michael Raczak, Board President of IPSD 204
  • Sadia Covert, DuPage County Board District 5

Racial Diversity in Naperville

Donna Sack from Naper Settlement provided a brief history of racial diversity in Naperville. Sack says connecting the past to the present helps us “make informed, just and humane decisions for the future”. To Rep. Stava-Murray’s comment, Naperville has a history of racial discrimination including racially restricted covenants and public segregated areas. However, Sack’s presentation points out that city leaders and residents continually fought for equality.

The Discussion

The evening concluded with residents sharing testimonies and ideas on how to make Naperville a more inclusive community. Councilman White says he plans to continue the discussion on a quarterly basis featuring different panelists. Several residents said these types of conversations are the first step in making systemic changes.

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