There can be a perception that the remaking of our Proviso Township High Schools is fully rooted in Forest Park. After all, the initial energy of the 209 Together movement began here two years back in grassroots gatherings of the frustrated and the hopeful. And two of the three candidates on that successful slate were Forest Parkers — Claudia Medina and Ned Wagner.
The truth, though, is that the magic of 209 Together is in its wide net and inclusive orthodoxy. This is truly a Proviso Township-wide movement. It is truly a repudiation of the political shackles that have controlled this failing district over decades — a repudiation by families across this diverse district who simply want a public high school system that will educate our kids and care about our kids.
The proof of all this is in the slate of candidates that 209 Together has assembled for the April school board election. There’s not a Forest Parker on it. Instead we have a slate that represents multiple towns in the Proviso coalition, that represents the diverse racial makeup of this fascinating school district.
On election night two years back, the winners of the election had slammed the politically-backed slate that ran in opposition, that assumed the Proviso political machine would carry them to victory. But the victorious 209 Together slate — Medina, Wagner and incumbent Theresa Kelly — knew from the start that it would take this coming election to ensure a strong and stable board majority capable of institutionalizing the progressive change voters demanded.
Now, in a strong minority following the feckless departure of Kevin McDermott from their alliance, the 209 Together candidates have accomplished great and remarkable things in a short time. They’ve done it by repeatedly, consciously, extending their connection to sincere parents and families across Proviso. They’ve known that there is a base of power and of votes in this district that gives not a fig about Democratic politics and rejects politics’ role in simply running the best high schools possible.
We won’t know until next week’s petition-filing deadline exactly how this race will shape up. We do know that at least three of the four incumbents in the current majority are running for re-election, which means they’re doubling down on dubious achievement.
We are ready for this campaign. We are ready for the great and powerful grassroots of Proviso to fully take back their high schools.
About those brownies
Always great to see a longtime business reinvesting in our community. This week our John Rice reports on the upgrades at Silverland Bakery Café on Desplaines Avenue. The retail front of the business is how most Forest Parkers know this business. The selection of spectacular brownies, cookies and an expanding array of more modern treats, including natural food bars, vegan brownies, and flourless brownies, keep the locals happy.
But as we report, 95 percent of Silverland’s business is out the back door to wholesale clients, including Whole Foods, Argo Tea and grocery chains. That would explain the 50,000 brownies baked up each week right there on Desplaines Avenue.
Good for Silverland. Good for Forest Park.