Naperville adds diversity to its mission statement
New language follows race-related incidents in the western suburb
In response to recent racerelated incidents in the city, Naperville’s mission statement now contains language on diversity and inclusion.
As approved by City Council members Tuesday, the rewritten and expanded statement reads: “To provide services that ensure a high quality of life, sound fiscal management, and a dynamic business environment, while creating an inclusive community that values diversity.”
The original version said: “To provide services that ensure a high quality of life for our residents and a dynamic environment for our business community through collaboration, innovation, and sound fiscal management.”
The additional wording comes at the urging of City Councilman Benny White following a racial incident at a Naperville Buffalo Wild Wings in October and other recent race-related incidents that brought the issue to a head this year.
“I think it’s important that we reaffirm our commitment to having a safe and diverse community, and I respect what Councilman White has brought forward with this idea,” Councilman Kevin Coyne said.
Changing the mission statement puts the commitment in words, White said.
“The next step is we’re talking it and we’re putting it into words, so the next step (is) what are we doing about it,” White said. “You need to be thinking, what are we going to do to show that we’re meeting these types of things so it’s not just a bunch of words on the paper.”
“The purpose of a mission statement is every decision we make needs to support our mission statement and our ends policies, and if it doesn’t, then we need to question the decisions because that doesn’t make any sense,” Mayor Steve Chirico said.
Naperville resident Jodi Trendler, speaking on behalf of the Naperville Environment and Sustainability Task Force, had requested the council table the agenda item until 2020 to provide more time for community input and the possible inclusion of sustainability language the task force would like to see included. “This is the vision that sets the tone for our community,” Trendler said.
White said he’s open to an overall revision of the mission statement, but the focus right now should be on adding the inclusion and diversity language.
“I think especially given some of the recent things that have happened in our community and things I just think are important and have been brought up before, I think the time is now. Let’s wrestle with this,” White said.
“There’s a lot of people out here hurting right now in our community and that was one of my primary reasons for bringing this up and trying to get it included in our mission statement.”
The city’s mission statement shouldn’t be too wordy, Councilwoman Judy Brodhead said. The city’s mission statement prior to Tuesday’s modifications was a too business-heavy, she said.
“A mission statement really has to be relatively short, relatively simple. It can’t possibly have all of our hopes and dreams in it,” Brodhead said. “Some things are definitely not going to make their way in there. It isn’t our entire vision, it’s sort of a distillation.”
Naperville City Councilman Benny White said a recent incident at Buffalo Wild Wings was “wrong” and “unacceptable.”