Naperville Discusses Racism And Implicit Bias at Focus 203

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Tears ran down the faces of some community members, as hard, but meaningful conversations were held at the municipal center for District 203’s conversation about race and implicit bias.

The morning session of the Focus 203 event drew a crowd of about 100 to the round table discussions, which touched on topics like experiencing racism in Naperville, and speaking about it with their families.

Community Members Speak Out About Racism And Implicit Bias

Marala Baker, a resident of Naperville, said she attended Focus 203 because she wanted to share a racist incident her son went through and see the reaction of district officials.

“My son was sent a picture of a letter of a noose, he was sent pictures told to die, he was told to kill himself, called the n word over, and over again,” said Baker.

Baker, says her family is currently seeking a counselor for her son.

Resident Urges Others To Share Their Racism And Implicit Bias Story

Another Naperville resident said sharing stories with one another can help with the burden people of color go through.

“It’s imperative that I have conversations with my children, [and] my wife,” said Cy Fields “For survival purposes, for resilience, so when they face racism, bigotry, and all of these kinds of things, they’ll know how to properly respond and not internalize it, like this mother so bravely expressed.”

NCHS Racist Act Incident

Though the Focus 203 topics was chosen months earlier, it opened up a public chance to discuss the racist act which took place at Naperville Central High School was posted on Craigslist that read “Slave for sale (NAPERVILLE).

Superintendent Dan Bridges spoke of the incident saying, racist acts have no place in District 203.

“As educational institutions we really are the center hub of this community,” said Bridges. “We have an important role not only to educate our kids that racism and hatred don’t have a place anywhere. We must value the dignity uniqueness of each individual we’re going to take on the responsibility.”

Spike In Racial Slurs

The district said it has seen a spike in racial slurs this year, and will continue to investigate why that is.

Naperville News 17’s Christian Canizal reports.