Forest Park Against Racism (FPAR), a group residents founded this past June to “seek sustainable and systemic change against racism,” issued a statement on Jan. 7 regarding both national and local events over the past two days. These issues include the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and the possible racial attack against L!VE Café in neighboring Oak Park.

“Forest Park Against Racism (FPAR) strongly condemns the violence that took place yesterday at the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. Yesterday’s attempt at insurrection led to four deaths and dozens injured, and we mourn with the families who were impacted. FPAR stands in strong solidarity with those who defend democracy, the people’s vote, and the electoral results: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be the next President and Vice President of the United States, in accordance with the people’s will,” reads the statement, in part.

“While lively debates are vital to a healthy democratic republic, it is never OK to devolve to acts of violence rooted in white supremacy and hate,” said FPAR, stating that there has been no evidence of voter fraud and that “the peaceful transition of power is one of the pillars of our nation’s Republic.”

FPAR also responded to recent events in Oak Park, including official petition objections against two Black men who filed to run for the office of village trustee. Oak Park resident Kevin Peppard, who has a history of challenging nomination petitions, formally lodged objections against Anthony Clark and Chibuike Enyia. Hearings began on Jan. 6 and will reconvene on Jan. 12.

Clark and Enyia held meetings at Oak Park’s L!VE Café, which was targeted during a possible hate crime on Jan. 6 when a brick with a racist message was thrown at the window of the shop, though no physical damage was done.

“Recent local events compel us to continue to face the specter that is racism and hate in our communities. Forest Park Against Racism stands with Black, Brown, and all candidates of color who are running for office in various local elections in and around our neighboring towns,” said FPAR in their statement.

“We condemn any acts of violence to their personhood, or to their property simply because they are persons of color who have chosen to represent their constituents through elected public service. We condemn racism in every form from implicit bias to intentional violence. FPAR stands in strong solidarity with L!VE Café and Creative Space.”