It was quite a night Monday at Forest Park’s village hall. Two vital issues came before the village council and each had energized, progressive residents rallying for passage. This is not something we have seen before in Forest Park but we suspect it is the new normal. And we are grateful for the energy.
Mayor Anthony Calderone and the full village council deserve praise for the unanimous passage of a welcoming resolution which addresses policies and values related to the nation’s broken immigration system.
Two other groups get credit as well. Forest Park’s Diversity Commission, chaired by Kate Webster, played a crucial and positive role in pushing the village to stay true to a reasonably substantive version of a resolution. It is not perfect. But worries a few weeks back when the village went radio silent on the rewrite that it might be gutted did not happen. The Diversity Commission played its difficult role well.
Also getting major thanks are activist citizens and groups which took hold of this issue and led Forest Park government to accomplish something that we don’t believe was in its basic nature. The PASO West Suburban Action Project under the leadership of Mony Ruiz-Velasco was strong. And activist Forest Parkers, seemingly loosely organized under the banner of Forest Park Progressive Citizens, drove a discussion through channels of their own making. Invigorating.
As is often the case, the village government remains somewhat tone deaf when it comes to interacting with citizens who want to engage on issues. In this instance, we’d point to the secrecy of the rewrite process and then the rush to pass the resolution even though the mayor had promised citizens they’d have time to read the proposal, suggest changes and have their voice.
We’re grateful this passed. But it could have and should have been a home run. Feels like something short of that.