Statement From Niles Township Supervisor

Niles Township Government stands with our Black and Brown colleagues, neighbors, and friends in this national moment of pain and anguish.

We have not arrived at this moment in a vacuum, but as a culmination of a long history of structural abuse and racism. We renew our vow to engage in committed work to dismantle racism and speak out against racism in whatever form it takes in our own communities.

Niles Township mourns the lost lives of George Floyd, Breona Taylor, Tony McDade, and Ahmaud Arbery, as well as the many other unnamed Black victims of racism and injustice in this country. We recognize that systemic racism is actualized in the tragedy of lost lives, but we also recognize that structural racism can lead to other nefarious outcomes - symbolized in the death of the American promise.

We vow to do the hard work so that every American in every zip code in this country, but especially here in Niles Township, will have equal opportunity to realize the American Dream, to improve one's station through merit and hard work, regardless of their gender, their creed, or the color of their skin.

We believe that we live in a truly special community that shares these values and where our neighbors will do this work beside us. To that end, we are truly grateful.

The Skokie Public Library has posted a list of resources to help all of us learn more about this issue and what we as a community, and as individual actors, can do to make a positive difference. I encourage all to join me in an effort to learn more. https://skokielibrary.information/lists/#/social-justice/

Whether it's Stand Against Racism, the Coming Together program, Skokie's Festival of Cultures, Morton Grove's Family Peace Fest, the 2014 exhibition on race at the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center and a lot more, this community has never failed to lead in educating, asking the tough questions and searching for a better tomorrow.

However, we know that our community - and all communities - still have a long way to go. We don't pretend to have all the answers, but we believe it's so important that we keep asking the questions and listening to each other. We believe our community should not and cannot stay silent when racism is on display and justice is at stake.

The Niles Township Board continues to support agencies in the area that tirelessly work toward achieving racial equity. Our June 8 meeting will provide the Board with an opportunity to approve grants to area agencies that have been engaged in this work for a long time. Through these grants we are able to meaningfully support and applaud their work.

Combatting racism takes courage and commitment, time and dedicated effort. The work is sometimes exhausting and sometimes disappointing. But it is work that defines the community of Niles Township. It is work that will not stop…work that has never been more important than it is now.

-Niles Township Supervisor, Bonnie Kahn Ognisanti