Right now in our extended community there are many working to protect our immigrant neighbors from a crystallizing federal campaign of fear and hate directed at this most recent group to be made “other.”
With Donald Trump taking the disturbing ringleader’s role in fomenting the base fears of his base voters, we here at the grassroots are charged with making plain that our communities will not be swamped by this anti-American vitriol.
Last week in this space we lauded the shared efforts of volunteers and elected leaders in Forest Park to craft and then pass a Welcoming Resolution. This week we urge continued progress, more collaboration and greater transparency as a second draft of a proposed resolution is being written.
A key virtue of the resolution promised last week by Mayor Anthony Calderone will be its power to unite our community. Let’s short-circuit worries over what changes are being contemplated by moving with some urgency and considerable openness.
Meanwhile our Proviso High Schools have passed their own resolution and neighboring towns in Berwyn and Oak Park have enacted ordinances.
At the state level, our own Rep. Chris Welch (8th District) is taking a strong lead with his efforts to pass the Immigrant Safe Zone Act through the thickets of Springfield. This legislation focuses on public facilities — schools, hospitals, places of worship — across Illinois, places where undocumented immigrants may be found. HB426 offers those facilities the protection of not having to cooperate with federal immigration officials unless they have a specific court-ordered warrant to be served.
This is another aspect of using government to protect rather than as the cudgel that Trump embodies in his approach to governance.
It is affirming that Welch, frequently criticized on this page for his years at the helm of the school board at the Proviso High Schools, credits post-presidential election conversations he had with Forest Parker Claudia Medina for his urgent work on this issue. Medina, of course, in addition to her activism on immigration rights, has been a leader of the grassroots Proviso movement to remake the local high schools and currently sits on the school board.
Crisis — and the presidency of Donald Trump is the mushrooming crisis of our age — will unite sincere people, even those with history, to focus on shared ideals. That is always good.
Cover our rust!
This is it. Saturday will bring the edifying, unifying and beautifying Cover Our Rust public art project to the semi-woebegone Circle Avenue Bridge.
We expect to be astounded by the care and creativity that so many artists will bring to the more than 100 10-foot by 26-inch rusty cement half-walls that line the bridge. Already though we are astounded and delighted by the enthusiasm this project has sparked just since February. That is when a piece in the Review, social media postings and some good-old fashioned fliers announced this scheme, which was invented by Sally Cody, executive secretary at village hall.
The money for the project is all coming from local businesses, as is typical in town. The artistry is coming from a burgeoning Forest Park arts community.
Can’t wait for Saturday.