Oak Park is making racial equity a village-wide priority - Metropolitan Planning Council

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Oak Park is making racial equity a village-wide priority

Oak Park Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb and Village Trustee Bob Tucker are leading efforts to advance racial equity.

This profile is part of a series that highlights the work of government, business and community leaders in creating a more equitable and inclusive Chicago region. Each of these stories is featured in "Our Equitable Future"—two dozen recommendations to advance equity MPC released in response to the 2017 Cost of Segregation findings

Oak Park is known for being a progressive and inclusive community, and the reputation is well-deserved.

From the historic Fair Housing Ordinance of 1968 to the recent Welcoming Village Ordinance which established Oak Park as a sanctuary city, the Village has a long history of addressing racial diversity and inclusiveness. But it’s challenging itself to do more.

“One of the big issues for those of us who serve on the Village Board is that we don’t know what we don’t know,” says Bob Tucker, Village of Oak Park Trustee. “We need to be mindful of the people we serve and better take into consideration how our decisions impact all the people in our community.”

That’s why Oak Park is taking steps towards adopting a racial equity framework, which, for them, means implementing training, tools and resources that dismantle the institutional barriers that create disparities by race and income. And they aren’t the only ones in their Village. Other entities, like the schools, park district and library are also adopting this approach.

“We all have a role to play in addressing racial equity,” says Anan Abu-Taleb, Mayor of Oak Park. Mayor Abu-Taleb immigrated to Chicago from the Gaza Strip and raised his family and built his business in the Village. “I made Oak Park my home because I feel welcomed here and have a strong sense of belonging. As Mayor, I have a role to play to ensure the people I serve feel like they belong here too, that they have a voice and can meaningfully contribute. It’s the only way we will all win.”

Explore more of the stories in this series.


Who's advancing equity in the Chicago region right now?

This 5-minute video highlights some government, community and business leaders who are already taking action to make our region more equitable and inclusive every day.

MPC thanks CIBC US for generously sponsoring this video.

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For more than 80 years, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has made the Chicago region a better place to live and work by partnering with businesses, communities and governments to address the area's toughest planning and development challenges. MPC works to solve today's urgent problems while consistently thinking ahead to prepare the region for the needs of tomorrow. Read more about our work »

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