A Special E-News Message from the Village President, Catherine M. Adduci

January, 18, 2021

A Special E-News on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day - Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Village of River Forest from the Village President, Catherine M. Adduci

January 18, 2021

Dear River Forest Residents,

As we observe Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and our nation continues to process and heal from civil unrest and senseless acts of hate, I wanted to provide an update on the actions  the Board and I have taken around Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. 

Last summer, the Village Board of Trustees and I began discussing our journey of reflecting inward to confront racism and taking clear, decisive action to address inequities within the Village’s operations and the community as a whole. 

At the Board table, we passed Resolution 20-10 to affirm the Village’s principles regarding the relationship between the community and law enforcement. In light of this, the Village made changes to its police officer recruitment process to engage a larger and more diverse pool of applicants by streamlining the application process and broadening the Village’s outreach to a greater number of applicants. This updated process resulted in an increase in applications of 250% compared to previous recruitment efforts, and more than half of the applicants identified as people of color. The Police Department as a whole has hired 11 new members since 2018, and 7 of these individuals identify as people of color. The officer selection procedure is a lengthy process mandated by State law, and the Village strives to strike a balance between the ease of applying and maintaining a pool of highly qualified candidates. The Department also held multiple interactive Policing and Social Justice Forums last year to provide information about Department personnel and the training our officers undergo, as well as to review how individuals move through the criminal justice system. 

Over the summer, the Trustees and I also made a commitment to work more collaboratively with our neighbors in Maywood by announcing the Twin Village Covenant. In October, the Trustees and I met with members of each of our communities, including Mayor Edwina Perkins and Trustee Miguel Jones, to introduce neighbors to neighbors and discuss the partnership.

Under the remarkable guidance of River Forest resident and Dominican University’s Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Sheila Radford-Hill, the Board of Trustees and I passed Resolution 20-21 to support a community partnership with Dominican’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to fight racial and social injustice using the Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation framework. I am so proud and grateful to have such an exceptional resource in our Village. Last month, Dominican passed their own resolution in support of this partnership, and together we will work to include Concordia University as well. Please click here to read a joint press release from Dominican and the Village regarding how we are working together to challenge racial injustice and promote healing on campus and in the community. 

As our conversations at the Board table continue and we engage residents to drive positive change, I want to share these sentiments Dr. Radford-Hill shared with me: "Meeting a challenge head on takes courage, patience and skill. Thanks for bringing all three to this work. You and Dominican University President Donna Carroll opened the door, I organized those who 'walked through'. There will be more opportunities, I'm sure. For now, let's get ready for the season, in earnest." 

I urge our community members to join us in these efforts and attend the Day of Racial Healing tomorrow, Tuesday, January 19 at 6:00pm. President Carroll and I will speak to the importance of reconciliation, racial healing and the actions we have taken together to make our community more tolerant and welcoming to everyone. 

Part of our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiative is to address housing for all. The Board and I passed an Affordable Housing Plan that addresses the following: 

  • Amend the River Forest Zoning ordinance to better accommodate affordable housing in new development and to evaluate proposed Planned Developments for their consistency with the Affordable Housing Plan
  • Preserve and enhance existing affordable housing throughout River Forest
  • Allow for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) on current residential property
  • Accommodate and allow for integrated supportive housing
  • Exceed 10% of the requirement in Affordable Housing Planning and Appeals Act (AHPAA)

At our next meeting on Monday, January 25, the Village Board of Trustees and I will be discussing our Village goals, objectives, and vision for our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives. We will continue our discussions of establishing a working group to engage residents who will help guide us through these efforts of looking at the Village’s internal and external policies and practices.

As we remember and honor Dr. King’s legacy, please keep in mind his words, which are imparted on our Twin Village Covenant: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”


Catherine M. Adduci, Village President

Village of River Forest


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