It was a beautiful clear night when I took my 20-month-old grandbaby for the Holiday Walk in Forest Park. She enjoyed seeing the clip clop of ponies and petting the reindeer. She looked in the windows of the Caucasian dancers, the Caucasian instrumentalists and the Caucasian singers. There was diversity of students from a Forest Park school of music but none were African American. The crowd of families was largely from Oak Park and River Forest, and there were few African American or Hispanic families in the crowd. I also did not see any cultural or religious diversity. Not one Chanukah menorah or a Kwanzaa Kinara represented. Chanukah eve was the same night as Christmas this year.
We have a Diversity Commission with a newly appointed African American woman on the committee. She is the only African American member of the committee!
Forest Park, based on the 2014 census, reflects a mixed and diverse population. Forest Park’s population is approximately 32.4% African American, 10% Hispanic and 8.2% Asian. There is also a significant percentage of people who identified as mixed race. The total is 52.3%. The Caucasian population is about 46.6%.
The Maywood Fine Arts program on 5th Avenue offers music, dance, voice and tumbling. There is a diverse group of children who attend. Look at Intuit Dance in Oak Park. Look to the high schools for choirs and dancers.
Forest Park and the Chamber of Commerce, seek and you shall find. Let’s respect and reflect all cultures and you will have more participation of diverse groups in your community.