Naperville adds di­ver­sity to its mis­sion state­ment

New lan­guage fol­lows race-re­lated in­ci­dents in the western sub­urb

Chicago Tribune (Sunday) - - CHICAGOLAN­D - By Erin He­garty ehe­[email protected]

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.”

ERIN HE­GARTY/NAPERVILLE SUN

Naperville City Coun­cil­man Benny White said a re­cent in­ci­dent at Buf­falo Wild Wings was “wrong” and “un­ac­cept­able.”

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