The recent events in Minneapolis, Louisville, Georgia and Central Park in New York are only the latest reminders of our country’s legacy of individual and systemic racism and that the affliction of racism continues to have devastating—and even deadly—impacts today.
We stand with the African American members of our staff, board, partners and communities as they endure the anger, despair and pain caused by these events. We stand with all Americans who call today for justice and systemic change.
We recognize that people of color often feel unsafe and unwelcome in natural outdoor places—including the Forest Preserves. We acknowledge that the Forest Preserves did far too little for far too long to correct this. Just two years ago, an officer in our police force failed to protect a young woman during a racist incident. This was a wake-up call for us and, as a public agency, we recognized we must do better.
We are committed to and actively working toward equity in our workplace, with our partners, in our communities and throughout the County. This work is far from done, and we continue to listen and learn. Yet as an organization and as members of the community, we want to state loudly and unequivocally: We will be part of the change. Racial equity is achievable, but for that to happen we all have to begin the hard work of acknowledging the depth and intensity of this problem. We pledge to do our part to change it. And everyone is welcome at the Forest Preserves.