By ERIN HEGARTY NAPERVILLE SUN |MAY 20, 2020 | 10:13 AM
The Naperville City Council’s quick response in adopting a resolution denouncing racism, intolerance and unlawful discrimination and celebrating diversity has reinforced Nancy Chen’s faith in the city, the Naperville resident said.
Chen proposed taking action at an April council meeting, and she and a dozen other residents spoke in favor of the resolution Tuesday night before the council approved it.
The action comes in response to a woman who called Asian residents supporting a ban on selling recreational marijuana in Naperville “roving carpetbaggers.” Her comment was part of a statement read at a council meeting when the topic was discussed.
Chen called the support voiced for the resolution “wonderful,” and said she was “deeply touched.” She thanked the city and residents for their swift effort to counter the woman’s statement, which many deemed racist.
“Your responsive action reinforces my faith in Naperville,” Chen said.[Most read] George Floyd fallout: Protesters gather at Union Park on sunny and cooler Saturday; Chicago shutting down stretch of Lake Shore Drive this weekend »
The resolution states the city of Naperville “denounces all acts of racism, intolerance and unlawful discrimination and will not tolerate them of any kind,” and “expresses its disapproval and condemnation of any racist, intolerant and unlawful discriminatory acts, including the recent attacks on Asian Americans in Naperville.”Advertisement
It also calls on residents to treat each other with respect and pledges to work with community partners, including school districts 203 and 204 and the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce, “to advance equity and inclusion to achieve a truly diverse, inclusive and tolerant environment for all residents.”
In April, Chen and Naperville resident Bill Liu called out Erika DeCarlo’s comments, read at the council’s April 7 meeting, as being derogatory and offensive.
Chen asked council members to consider adopting a resolution condemning attacks on Asian Americans, some of which have been tied to the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the other allegations of racism that have occurred in Naperville in the past two years.
Among them was an incident at Buffalo Wild Wings in which a group of diners, some of whom were African American, were asked to move because a racist patron didn’t want to be seated by them. Others include a gas station clerk who told a group of Latina girls and women that they should return to their home country and a Naperville high school student who posted a social media ad with the photo of a black student and the words “Slave for Sale.”[Most read] Who are the activists behind the protests? Meet the Faces of the Fallout »
Naperville resident Paul Leong, who serves on the Naperville District 203 School Board, told the council the incidents are “troubling but if Naperville can learn from them and come together, then we can move forward to forge a better and stronger community.”
The current COVID-19 crisis has been difficult and often tragic, but it has also illustrated how people are the same, not different, Leong said.
“I look forward to shaking the hands of my friends and neighbors when it is safe to do so again,” he said.
Councilwoman Judy Brodhead said the resolution is a positive development to come out of something that has been so negative.