The national discussion on race prompted by the George Zimmerman acquittal in Florida lead one local organization to ask “where do we go from here?”
The DuPage County Branch of the NAACP recently held a town hall discussion at North Central College to talk about ways to move the country and our area forward and to reduce racial tensions.
“If you think this does not effect our kids in the state of Illinois, it does,” said Illinois State Representative from the 83rd District Linda Chapa LaVia. “It takes a little bit away from them on how to be hopeful that they’re going to have an honest and great future ahead of them.”
Audience members also shared their views with the panel that included: a national NAACP board member, the Naperville Deputy Police Chief, and a state representative.
Police officers from Naperville, Elgin, and Bolingbrook also added to the discussion.
Topics ranged from education and gun control to racial profiling and the growing number of incarcerated young people in the area.
“It takes the same amount to incarcerate an individual as it does to send them to an institution with the caliber of Yale,” said Naperville Deputy Police Chief John Gustin. “We are not getting the education and the prevention and the intervention that is necessary to stop the trail to prison.”
Organizers said they didn’t expect to make huge changes in one night, but hoped the event sparked future discussion.
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