Rev. Jesse Jackson Speaks Out on Racism in Naperville

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“Our presence today is a victory,” said Reverend Jesse Jackson.

Jackson spoke those words and a packed room echoed them as he commended community members for taking the first steps in trying to learn from recent racist incidents in Naperville.

What Did Rev. Jesse Jackson Say?

Senators, school officials, police chiefs, and many more gathered at Cantigny Park’s Golf Clubhouse for Unity Partnerships’ Leadership Forum. The panel featured several community leaders and was highlighted by Jackson.

The civil rights activist said racism is a belief system and that the community needs to change.

“We must teach racism is ungodly. [We must] teach racism is immoral. Racist’s practices are illegal. We must teach that,” said Jackson.

District 203’s Equity Mission

School District 203 superintendent Dan Bridges says the recent racist incident at Naperville Central High School has been a wake up call to the district.

“We have equity teams in each of our buildings going through deep equity training to really ensure we have systems in place to support our kids,” said Bridges.

The superintendent also said the District is also reviewing its curriculum to ensure they’re culturally considerate.

What do Community Members Want?

Tamara Wallace, the mother of the black Naperville Central freshman who had his picture posted on Craigslist by a classmate with the caption “Slave for sale (NAPERVILLE)”, said everyone needs to be accepting of one another, which requires the perfect mix of ingredients.

“You know I don’t know about you, but a really big bowl of gumbo is really good to me,” said Wallace. “And that has all type of ingredients in there, and we need to think of ourselves as a large bowl of gumbo. And teach our kids to embrace one another, to love one another, to cherish one another and to get along with one another. Teach that.”

Naperville News 17’s Christian Canizal reports.