Dear City Council members: As I begin to write this, we are 22 minutes from a mandatory curfew...in Naperville. It’s almost unthinkable to write, but we have clearly arrived at a critical juncture in history.
I implore you to use your offices to do good and make positive change possible. Please consider:
1. A formal statement making plain that you recognize the need to be better and will review policing policies to identify racist practices that you will then fix. Make plain that you hear the voices of suffering and are willing to do something about it.
2. Gather data and share it honestly and openly with the community. Be radically open to criticism, and let’s criticize ourselves radically.
SEND LETTERS TO: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes.
3. Listen. Schedule events to hear what it means to be a black resident or visitor to Naperville — then honestly listen.
4. Engage other civic leaders from institutions of faith and non-profits to speak with one voice for a better tomorrow.
5. Plan events to make Naperville residents aware of the challenges of being black in America. A city-wide reading of black authors for adults and kids. Guest speakers hosted by North Central High and open to the public. Films. We can never truly understand, but show us how we can try and help facilitate those efforts.
Think about that mural of white faces downtown and figure out how you can help them be allies in the fight for a more just world.
Nine minutes to curfew. I hope you all are safe and well.
Robert M. Sargis, Naperville
Burge torture was real
The editorial “Why was that police car on fire?,” about the wave of protests triggered by the death of George Floyd, notes that “In Chicago, we also had Jon Burge, a police commander who allegedly tortured a couple of hundred criminal suspects.”
Allegedly? Has the $83 million in settlements to the victims of Burge’s “midnight crew” been awarded for “alleged” torture? What about the additional $5.5 million in reparations paid to Burge’s victims? The convictions overturned and pardons granted? Burge’s own four years in prison for perjury in regard to the horrors that took place under his watch? The apology issued by Mayor Emanuel in 2013 and the promise that Chicago’s history of police torture would be taught in the public schools?
Are these all the result of “alleged” incidents of brutality, rather than a policy of systematic torture of African-American suspects to extract convictions, undergirded by the CPD’s code of silence?
The use of the term “allegedly” casts a shadow of doubt over this well-documented history. Considering all that we know, all that we’ve gone through, using this weasel word now is inexcusable.
Hugh Iglarsh, Skokie
I must thank President Trump for a moment of personal enlightenment. He’s made me aware that for the past 70 years I’ve been a member of the domestic terrorist group Antifa.
Back around first grade, my parents informed me about World War II, the Holocaust and Nazism. It was a difficult concept for my young brain to grasp but it spurred a lifelong commitment to anti-fascism, which is precisely what Antifa is short for.
Now we have a cynical, Joseph McCarthy-channeling president using the name for today’s anti-fascists to demean every person or group who opposes his quasi-fascist tactics to maintain his grip on the presidency.
He demonized Antifa twice Monday before his deplorable action of sending in the military, to fire rubber bullets, flash-bang grenades and tear gas to clear peaceful protesters out of the way for a “law and order” photo op.
Trump missed the irony: pledging his solidarity with peaceful protesters, demanding justice and jail for violators; then behaving just like those violators.
I wear my new Antifa moniker with honor. Anti fascism…now more than ever.
Walt Zlotow, Glen Ellyn