March 11th Assembly with candidates for Illinois Attorney General

March 11th Assembly.jpg

The four IL IAF affiliates - DuPage United, Fox River Valley Initiative, Lake County United and United Power for Action and Justice - assembled 1257 leaders from the across four counties in Northern Illinois to meet with all 10 candidates for Illinois Attorney General - 8 Democrats and 2 Republicans in advance of the March 20th Primary election.  This is the first time in 15 years that the office for Attorney General is truly up for grabs in Illinois.  The four IAF affiliates were seeking to establish a mature, reciprocal and productive relationship with the next Attorney General. To that end, they won a commitment from each candidate to meet with the four organizations within 30 days of the November election, if elected.  They also heard each candidates' response to how they would work to address four key issue areas of the organizations: reducing incarceration of people with mental illness and/or addiction, affordable housing, engaging gun manufacturers to make us safer and stopping flow of illegal guns and 24 hour response to any crisis or hate crime.

DuPage United Decries President Trump’s Islamophobic Re-Tweets

11/30/2017, Glen Ellyn, IL -

We, the members of DuPage United, demur President Trump’s misguided demonizing of Muslims and his use of publicly-known extremist propaganda. We believe that the use of this hate-filled speech puts the lives of not only our Muslim neighbors’ at risk, but all minority groups. The rise in virulent anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, and anti-minority messaging has already resulted in a rise in Hate Crimes, most notably against Muslims in 2016 according to the FBI.

The President’s targeting of American Muslims plays on people’s fears, biases, and prejudices. It creates visceral reactions not thoughtful considerations, promotes people’s differences, not their similarities, it demonized and reduces multi-faceted individuals to a single attribute. His words are not representative of DuPage United, nor of most Americans. This has always been a country of immigrants, and of opportunity not exclusion: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

DuPage United’s Prepared and Rapid Response Team was created to act as a shield with a plan of action ready to respond to acts of hate, racism, and discrimination in DuPage County when/if they occur. We will stand with all groups that feel discrimination.

The President of the United States has a responsibility to all American citizens, to protect each, regardless of religion, race, or ethnicity. Democracy flourishes when people of different ideologies and religions engage in dialogue, putting aside their differences and working together to make their society stronger and more resilient; when the strength of our cultural similarities is more binding than the sum of our differences, when the belief in the American dream and democracy is paramount.

We acknowledge this nation’s less than stellar record in bringing people together. We have had our failures; we have also had our successes. Through our struggle we have become a pluralistic, heterogeneous society that rewards hard work and intelligence, not the accident of birth.

This is why we urge the President to stop engaging in the spreading of derisive, dividing language that sparks prejudice and anger. The long term damage from such behavior may be significant, and threaten the very nature of the American Experiment.

To become a signatory please send an email to prr@dupageunited.org with your name or your institution’s name and it will be added to the list.

Sincerely,

Benjamin Weiskopf,

Volunteer Leader, Chairman of the Prepared and Rapid Response Team

Signed:
Joe Follrath
Greg Eakins
Steve De La Rosa
Lucy Tarbour
Jeri Shaw
Mohammed Saeed
 

Fox River Valley Initiative / DuPage United Combined Assembly

DU-FRVI-August-Assembly

On Thursday, August 3, 600 citizens of DuPage and Kane Counties filled Goodwin Hall Auditorium at Benedictine University in Lisle. Representing over 40 churches and other nonprofit members of DuPage United and the Fox River Valley Initiative (FRVI), the enthusiastic group gathered at an assembly to demonstrate support for, among other things, Crisis Intervention Team training.  

Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT) are law enforcement officers trained to deal with offenders with  a mental illness or drug impairment. Rick Lathrop from FRVI announced that DuPage County had waited 18 months for the Illinois Law Enforcement Standards Training Board to award provisional approval to begin offering its CIT curriculum.  

Kane County’s CIT application was submitted July 31. Rodger Heaton, Illinois Director of Public Safety and Homeland Security, announced to the assembly his commitment to shorten the time to approve reports. When Lathrop shared that Kane County Sheriff Kramer’s budget included $40,000 for CIT training beginningin Septemberand askedwhether   approval might be granted before then, Heaton responded, “How could we possibly miss a chance to use (someone else’s)  $40,000?”

Lathrop also asked Heaton to work with both broad-based citizen groups to meet  with the Governor and his staff to find  alternatives to incarceration for those with mental illness.   Heaton reported that the Governor has charged the Criminal Justice Commission to explore how to reduce the state’s prison population safely by 25%, adding, “Someone who wants to find ways to reduce the prison population should be highly motivated to meet with you. “

Campana building in Batavia developer seeks community support

By MARK FOSTER of the Kane County Chronicle - editorial@kcchronicle.com

BATAVIA – The developer for the proposed Campana building apartment project sought community support during a public forum July 17, framing his plan as the best use for the property.

David Block of Evergreen Real Estate Group told a crowd of more than 100 people who turned out at the Congregational Church of Batavia that the 80-unit apartment plan will restore the historic building and provide much-needed affordable housing in the community.

Block said that in response to the Batavia City Council’s concerns about parking, he has increased the number of spaces in the plan to 206 from the 146 originally proposed.

“We’re trying to listen to what the council is telling us,” Block said prior to the start of the meeting.

However, even with the increase, this would still leave the proposal well short of the 301 spaces required under the city’s code, meaning Evergreen would need a modification under the city’s planned unit development ordinance.

The forum was sponsored by the Fox River Valley Initiative, a nonpartisan community action group focusing on social issues, and which is supportive of Evergreen’s plan for the Campana building.

Wayne resident Jeff Jenkins of the group said the proposal helps fulfill the need for affordable housing in the valley, would restore the landmark structure and is being proposed by a development firm with a solid track record.

Evergreen, based in Chicago, wants to use the original 1936 factory building and the north addition for the apartments, while maintaining business uses in the south and west additions. The $30 million project would include 36 one-bedroom units, 38 two-bedroom units, and six three-bedroom units.

Block told the crowd that 26 percent of Batavia households would qualify for the income-restricted apartments, and posed the rhetorical question of who would be living in the building.

“It’s your neighbors who are struggling,” Block said.

The project is expected to produce about 26 students attending Geneva schools, Block said, including around 11 attending Western Avenue Elementary School.

Evergreen will not attempt to link the Campana building to the school via sidewalks over the properties of unwilling neighbors, Block said.

Instead, Evergreen would purchase a passenger van and transport children to and from Western Avenue School every school day, Block said. He indicated later that Evergreen would be willing to commit to the arrangement as part of the development agreement with the city, if necessary.

Middle school and high school students would be entitled to school district bus service, he said.

Block further asserted that Evergreen would be willing to donate land abutting the intersection at Route 31 and Fabyan Parkway for improvements to make it safer.

Noting that the Campana project is producing concerns about traffic, Block said a residential development generates fewer vehicle movements than a commercial development.

As he had during a meeting with Batavia aldermen this spring, Block contended that the building has been underutilized for many years, is in serious need of renovations to be saved, and that the market has not come up with a viable solution.

After making his initial pitch, Block took questions from the audience. Virtually all the people identifying themselves as residents of Geneva were opposed, while Batavia residents were in favor.

A round of applause at the conclusion of the forum indicated a clear majority of those in attendance support the plan. Many people snapped up yard signs promoting approval of the project to take home with them.

The proposal is expected to come before the Batavia Plan Commission on Aug. 2.

The Campana building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was designated a local landmark by the city of Batavia in 2003. The building is notable for its central tower and horizontal line of glass block windows.

Evergreen would make use of low-income housing tax credits to help finance the project and offer affordable rents to tenants. Low-income households are defined as making no more than 60 percent of the median income in the local area.

Block told the crowd that Evergreen, which operates many income-restricted apartment projects, requires tenants to go through a rigorous application process, including a criminal background check.

The proposal calls for 16 market-rate apartments, with the rest being income-restricted. Block said there would be an on-site staff, and that the apartment complex would be maintained and managed to a market-rate standard.

Evergreen is expected to seek federal historic-preservation tax credits to finance some of the needed renovations, including work on the mechanical systems, roof, masonry and glass block.

Related presentation

The Fox River Valley Initiative separately has issued a news release that it will conduct a summer assembly focused, in part, on its support of affordable housing, including the Campana project, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Aug. 3 at the Benedictine University Goodwin Hall Auditorium at 5700 College Road in Lisle. The public is invited and details are offered by Jeff Jenkins at jeff@mercyharborchurch.org and 630-659-8141. To learn more, visit facebook.com/FRVI4.

DuPage United Statement on Vandalism at Schmaltz Deli

We, the signatories below, on behalf of DuPage United, stand in solidarity with Schmaltz Delicatessen in Naperville and the Bender family, and against all acts of unlawful vandalism.  

What happened to the Jewish-owned Deli is unfortunate and should be condemned.  This is political speech in an unlawful and unproductive manner (i.e. graffiti). DuPage United stands for building relationships, fostering understanding and working on common goals.

As an umbrella organization comprising more than 30 member faith communities and associations, we see the power of having allies comprising like-minded neighbors. People join hands and work collectively on issues that affect all residents of DuPage County.  The impact of our efforts is systemic change. We invite those who’d like to build bridges and foster understanding to join us in working shoulder-to-shoulder on common causes, driven by shared values, to get to know our neighbor's up close and personal. In doing so we recognize, and celebrate, our shared humanity and core American values.                                                                   

We invite you to explore our work at www.dupageunited.org and join us for our next assembly on August 3rd, 2017, 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. Details will be posted on our website shortly.

DuPage United Member Institutions

Jericho Road Church, Wheaton, IL

First Church of Lombard, Lombard, IL - Rev Jeffrey Phillips

Rev, Eric Doolittle, North Central College Chaplain, Naperville, IL

Congregation Etz Chaim - Rabbi Ricky Kamil, Lombard, IL

Downers Grove First United Methodist Church - J. Renee Hyzy Chair: Mission, Justice and Community

The Mecca Center WillowBrook

DarusSalam Foundation, Lombard

St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church, Naperville

ICNA Relief

Islamic Center of Naperville

Muslim Society Inc., Glendale Heights

Rev Pamela Rumancik, Hinsdale, IL Unitarian Church of Hinsdale

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Glen Ellyn - The Rev. George D. Smith, The Rev. Victor Conrado

Church of the Holy Nativity, Clarendon Hills

Rev. Joe Yucha - Faith Lutheran Church, Glen Ellyn, IL

Sister Beatrice Hernandez - Wheaton Franciscan Justice ,Peace and Integrity of Creation Office Wheaton, IL

Islamic Foundation, Villa Park

Parables Community, Lombard, IL, Pastor Jeanne Davies

Islamic Foundation, Villa Park

Parables Community, Lombard, IL, Pastor Jeanne Davies

York Center Church of the Brethren, Lombard, IL

Pastor Christy Waltersdorff

Islamic Center of Kane County (ICKC)

Pastor Kevin Williams

Second Baptist Church, Wheaton IL

Rev. Seth Ethan Carey, First Congregational Church of Glen Ellyn

Ally Organizations

Nancy Oetter, Regional Coordinator, Pax Christi USA, Illinois, Woodridge, IL

Masjid Uthman, Lombard IL

Syrian Community Network, Chicago, IL

ICNA Chicago

Jeffrey R. Jenkins - Mercy Harbor Church Geneva, Illinois

The Rev. Dr. Lindsay Bates, Senior Minister - The Unitarian Universalist Society of Geneva, IL

Individuals

Naazish YarKhan, Glendale Heights, IL

Saima Azfar, Glendale heights, IL

Nadia Sheikh, Carol Stream, IL

Naureen Ahmed, Carol Stream, IL

Kashif Fakhruddin, Principal, AL-Falah Academy (Weekend School)

Azhar Mohammed, Glendale Heights, IL

Khalid Dogar

Daily Herald Letter to the Editor - DuPage now certified in crisis intervention

We commend leaders in DuPage County for making it the first jurisdiction in Illinois outside of Chicago to be certified by the state to offer Crisis Intervention Team training to law enforcement officers.

Within two years, the sheriff's department will train hundreds of officers, saving lives, protecting police, reducing costs and improving outcomes for people in mental health crisis.

In conversation with dozens of local law enforcement leaders over the last three years, DuPage United identified a dramatic chronic shortage of CIT training in the greater Chicago area, and began to work with the necessary parties. We thank Sheriff John Zuruba, Public Health Executive Director Karen Ayala, State's Attorney Robert Berlin and NAMI DuPage for their commitment to this effort.

This is a wonderful development. After decades of cuts to mental health services, police are encountering more and more people in crisis. CIT training is a proven strategy for helping police handle mental health crises in ways that are safer for police and better for citizens. By diverting people from unnecessary jail time and reducing officer injuries, this training will save taxpayers money. By interacting with well-trained, knowledgeable officers, people in mental health crisis will be less likely to end up in jail and more likely to get appropriate care.

The state certification has been a long time coming: too long, in our view. We strongly encourage the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board to keep up the needed standards, but work the process much more quickly for other jurisdictions now seeking course approval. The more officers that are trained, the better the outcomes will be as police encounter those in mental health crisis. Lives are on the line.

Naazish YarKhan

J. Michael Solberg

DuPage United