Residents push for diversity in Mount Prospect strategic plan

As Mount Prospect shapes its strategic plan, residents are calling on the village board to incorporate equity and diversity into the document that lays out a long-term vision for the community.

Board members met at the village's Emergency Operations Center for a four-hour session Monday to discuss the plan. Village Clerk Karen Agoranos read emails from residents urging trustees to pay special attention to diversity and inclusion.

"We need forward movement in our village to create a community where all are welcome and where we stand firmly with marginalized residents and against oppression and discrimination," Heather Stewart-Clark wrote.

"We need a strategic plan in which diversity, equity and inclusion are at its core. We need a community where all voices are heard, not just those of the majority."

Resident Benjamin Clark suggested government agencies stop using Blue Lives Matter symbols, like the flag on the village police patch that has been a source of controversy in recent months.

Clark also called for an ordinance to encourage more affordable housing, and he suggested revising zoning laws to allow "accessory dwelling units" - such as coach houses, garage conversions and tiny homes - on residential properties to increase the rental supply.

Resident Gwynne Ryan, who attended Monday's session in person, said the village needs to undertake more than "surface-level" efforts.

"I hope that in the next five years, Mount Prospect will take a deep and honest look at where we lack inclusion and where we are harming efforts for real diversity," she said.

Mayor Paul Hoefert said diversity, equity and inclusion are an integral part of the strategic plan.

"And the fact is that it will, I am sure, become a greater part of the plan as the plan continues to evolve," he said.

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