May 17 Steering Team Meeting Minutes

DuPage United Steering Team Meeting Minutes (revised)
Tuesday, May 17th, 6:30 pm
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church

Meeting Chair: Maria Ibarra Lorence, Downers Grove Society of Friends
In attendance:  

Maria Coyne, Union Church
Lucy Tarabour, Union Church
Carol Park, Church of the Holy Nativity
David Rinaldi, Church of the Holy Nativity
Dan Jares, First Church of Lombard
Kevin Lattner,  First Church of Lombard
Mike Solberg, Union Church
John Reimers,
Meredith Muir, Jericho Road Church
Debbie Fulks, Faith Lutheran
Mary Hason, Congregation Etz Chaim
Afaf Qayyun, MECCA
Rachel Brooks, DuPage United
Amy Lawless Ayala, DuPage United
Veronica Cecil, Church of the Holy Nativity
Mohammed Saeed, CPSA
Sally Milow, Mental Health Activist
Nancy Gier, St. Mark’s
Lois Walter, Faith Lutheran

Internal Business
Pending approval by the Executive Committee, Amy Lawless Ayala will be moving into full-time work with Lake County, and Adrienne McCauley (currently working with Fox River Valley Initiative) will begin working along with Rachel Brooks organizing for DuPage United.  These changes are expected to take place around the end of the summer.

Also, DuPage United has hired a part-time administrative staff person.


We the People-Solidarity Campaign
Debbie Fulks reported that since the event on 2/28 that was attended by more than 800, there has been a clergy breakfast and an evaluation meeting to discuss next steps.  She emphasized that we need to move from “standing together” to “acting together.”

A few of the ideas have not panned out due to lack of people willing to lead, specifically the rapid response team.

Open mosque days have been well attended.

Debbie and others also shared instances of relationships that are developing as a result of the campaign; sometimes the small relationships are the most important to moving the goal of the campaign forward.

Emails with names of those who filled out commitment cards at the 2/28 event have been sent to turnout chairs at each institution.  Everyone is urged to follow up with these people with one-on-ones.  Please contact Debbie if your institution has not received this information.  A second email will be sent within the next few days.

Coming up:

  • 5/25/16, We the People-Know Your Muslim Neighbor Planning Meeting, 2 -3:30 pm (no location given)
  • 7/15/16 Metro IAF Muslim leaders meeting in Chicago to discuss regional and/or national strategies.

Mike Solberg encourages the team to focus on turning the “We the People” campaign into something actionable.


Regional and Local Mental Health Analysis

Mike Solberg gave an overview of the status of this work:

He emphasized the far-reaching effects of trauma which plants the seeds of mental illness.  Trauma takes on many forms including poverty, racial discrimination, and unstable housing situations.  
As society continues to criminalize mental illness, and the state of Illinois continues its years-long trend of decreasing support for mental health services, the incidence of mental illness continues to grow.

CIT Update:

  • Legislation passed last year has made it possible for organizations other than the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board (ILETSB) to develop CIT curriculum, have it approved and certified by the Standards Board, and offer it for no cost to police officers anywhere in the state.
  • The DuPage County Sheriff’s office has developed such a curriculum and is waiting for approval from the Standards Board.  Funding for the training is coming from the DuPage County Health Department due to the leadership of Karen Ayala, Executive Director of the Department.


What we need to do:

  • DU Member institutions need to contact their local chiefs of police to make sure they’re aware of the Sheriff’s efforts.
  • Look at CIT as more than training for police officers—the “team” involves police, mental health professionals, supportive housing advocates and more.
  • Continue to research and work for establishment of a triage center in east DuPage
  • Research and work toward establishment of supportive housing for those being treated for mental illness:  “Housing is treatment.”


Coming up:

Mental Health and Housing Team Meeting Monday, May 23rd, 6:30pm, Location TBD; RSVP to Rachel:

Self-Interest and Building Power

Amy Lawless Ayala discussed how necessary it is to understand the relationship between power and self-interest in order to understand and to achieve power.

Self-interest is the healthy middle ground between selfishness—disregard for anyone other than oneself, and selflessness—disregard for one’s own needs, which renders one unable to help anyone at all.

In order to have power over a person, group or organization, you must understand what the self-interest of the person, group or organization is, and be able to affect that.  She mentioned the example of Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner who has indicated his “self-interest” in reducing Illinois’s prison population.  Our relationship with Rauner appointee, Public Safety Director Roger Heaton gives us an opportunity to leverage some power with Rauner as we demonstrate how our efforts in the mental health arena intersect with his self-interest regarding reduction of prison population.


Upcoming calendar items:

  • United Power for Action & Justice Delegates Assembly, Sunday, May 22nd, 7 – 8:30 pm at St. Phillips’ Lutheran, 1609 Pfingsten Road, Glenview
  • Housing and Mental Health Meeting, Monday, May 23rd, 6:30 pm. Location TBD, RSVP to
  • 3-hour Introduction to Organizing training, June 25th, 9 am – noon, Congregational Church of Batavia, 21 S. Batavia Avenue, Batavia
  • IAF National Leadership Training, July 12-19, Roosevelt University, Chicago

We the People - Know your Muslim Neighbors

Click the video above to watch highlights from Dupage United's first Solidarity Event.

On Sunday, February 28th, over 850 voices, from 80 organizations, engaged in meaningful conversation at the ‘We the People - Know your Muslim Neighbor’ event, a kick-off to the year long DuPage United Solidarity Campaign.

Successful beyond expectations, the afternoon had speakers from various backgrounds, including former Wheaton College professor Dr. Larycia Hawkins, IIT Muslim Student Association President Mr. Mohsin Ishaq, and from Faith Lutheran Church in Glen Ellyn, Rev. James Honig.

“Muslims. Christians, Jews, the Non religious, can stand together today and fight back hate, bigotry, and discrimination,” reiterated Syrian immigrant and banker Hani Atassi, of Mecca Center, Willowbrook. “Afterall, what is more meaningful to our lives is NOT religious dominance, racial superiority or wealth accumulation. It is love and compassion for your fellow human beings.”

See photos from the event:

For more coverage of the event read the article featured in the Daily Herald:

The DuPage United Solidarity Campaign will continue its mission of building trust and understanding. This includes a series of Open Mosque Days. Please visit our website to learn more at

Relational Power and Relational Meetings

On Tuesday February 16th, DuPage United had a Steering Team Meeting co-chaired by Naazish YarKhan from ICNA Relief and Debbie Fulks from Faith Lutheran. The agenda included updates on the upcoming Solidarity Action event, improving regional Mental Health assistance, and a special focus on Relational Power and Relational Meetings.

Relational Power is the primary currency in DuPage United and our institutions along with many large organizations.  People work together, help each other out, team-up for success, forgive mistakes, and generally stick together in the organization.  We are social creatures and relationships matter.  Through Relational Meetings, people become inter-related and can build the power necessary to make a positive change in the community.

Fox River Valley Initiative Assembly on Housing and Mental Health

On October 20th the Fox River Valley Initiative hosted an assembly that focused on housing and mental health. FRVI is an expansion effort of DuPage United and the newest IAF organizations in Illinois. 200 people from 15 member institution attended. During the meeting the county Sheriff  committed to ongoing Crisis Intervention Team(CIT)  training. In November the Sheriff hosted 30 officers from throughout the county for CIT training. He is committed to do 2 more sessions in 2016. The organization is currently meeting with county board members to pressure the county to fund a county jail re-entry program for people with mental illness. The housing team is focused on organizing their base and site identification.

Willowbrook Community Walk

Another group of talented leaders from Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities gathered for our second community walk at the large low-income apartment complex in Willowbrook, Hinsdale Lake Terrace. 

We have effectively knocked on every door at the complex-- over 550-- and have had over 200 conversations. 

We have started building relationships and identifying talented leaders and have 3 areas of concern and interest to residents.

Action in Springfield

Regional leaders from DuPage United, Lake County United, Fox River Valley Initiative and United Power for Action and Justice in Cook County will met again with Rodger Heaton, the Director of Public Safety under Governor Rauner and Judge Steve Leifman on Wednesday, October 7th in Springfield along with representatives from our county governments. Mr. Heaton is tasked with reducing the state jail/prison population by 25% and is interested in relating to us, because of our compelling work on this issue. These conversations will potentially inform state policy on mental health and incarceration by year-end with Heaton’s recommendations to Governor Rauner.

Mental Health: A Visit to Rosecrance

From left to right: Rev. Chris Pierson, Director of connectional ministries for the northern Illinois United Methodist conference, Shawna Rohrman Assitant professor of sociology for north central college, Rev. Michael Solberg of the Union Church of Hinsdale, Dr. David Rinaldi former pediatrician, Robert Lundin- A mental health specialist at Dupage county health department from St. Marks Episcopal, Lois Walter retired social worker and drug counselor from Faith Lutheran Church

From left to right:
Rev. Chris Pierson, Director of connectional ministries for the northern Illinois United Methodist conference, Shawna Rohrman Assitant professor of sociology for north central college, Rev. Michael Solberg of the Union Church of Hinsdale, Dr. David Rinaldi former pediatrician, Robert Lundin- A mental health specialist at Dupage county health department from St. Marks Episcopal, Lois Walter retired social worker and drug counselor from Faith Lutheran Church

DuPage United leaders went to Rockford IL with key elected officials, hospital representatives, deputy sheriff, and others to see how a successful crisis intervention center is run. A crisis center is a more effective alternative to hospital emergency rooms for those with a mental illness crisis.

First DuPage United Manufacturers' Round Table

leaders from manufacturing, county and state officials, and educators gathered to hear directly from local manufacturers.  The manufacturers described the kind of trained workforce they need in order to expand their operations.
A presentation from a recruiting organization called Project Iowa (founded by a sister organization to DuPage United) provided ideas for further discussion of what could be done in DuPage County.  The roundtable participants decided to move ahead with plans to develop a local pilot project to recruit, assess, train, and place new people into the good manufacturing jobs that exist here and go unfilled. This led to the announcement of the formation of the Metro West Manufacturing Workforce