Fifty years ago, the motion picture based on the timeless classic, "To Kill a Mockingbird", by Harper Lee, was released in movie theaters across the country. One year ago, the City of West Chicago lost its visionary mayor, Michael Kwasman. So how do these two anniversaries intersect?
It just so happens that "To Kill a Mockingbird" was Mayor Kwasman's favorite book. Looking back at his record of public service to the City of West Chicago, it's not hard to see how the themes of his favorite story informed the values Kwasman brought to his public offices.
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From the political action committee, "4 The People," which he helped to found in the mid-1990s to his plans to develop a community civic district in downtown West Chicago, Kwasman collaborated with all types of people in a tireless effort to make a better quality of life for West Chicago and its citizens. "He was a tremendous supporter of the Library and its programs," said Melody E. Coleman, Administrative Librarian. "We are so excited to be able to engage the community in a unique way to honor his memory."
Lee's searing portrayal of racism and injustice has landed her book on the required reading lists of schools across the country. So it seems only fitting that the West Chicago Public Library District has chosen to mark these anniversaries with a film screening and book discussion of "To Kill a Mockingbird." The impact of its message on our beloved mayor, on his leadership of West Chicago, and on the citizens who have read it or have yet to, is as important today as it was 50 years ago.
The Library invites all to help pay tribute to this remarkable leader and friend on Sunday, April 14 at 3 pm at the Wheaton Academy Fine Arts Center. Tickets for the film screening and book discussion are free and may be picked up at the Library or at City Hall. The program will begin with the film screening, with an introduction by Crystal Kwasman, and will include refreshments and discussion following the movie.