Naperville's new mission: 'Creating inclusive community'

Updated 12/18/2019 2:40 PM

Naperville has a new mission statement that illustrates the city's commitment to "creating an inclusive community that values diversity."

The city council unanimously approved the statement Tuesday, with members saying it was important to voice the priorities of diversity and inclusion after a high-profile race-related issue at a restaurant and a racist post by a student.


Council member Benny White brought up the idea of editing the mission statement in early November after a multiracial group of 18 was asked to move tables inside the Buffalo Wild Wings in Naperville because employees told them two white customers did not want to sit near black people.

"A lot of people are really hurting in our community," White said Tuesday as he pushed for the council to act sooner rather than later to update its mission.

Despite some calls to include a nod to the priority of environmental sustainability in the language or to wait to make changes after seeking further community input, the council approved the new wording Tuesday night by an 8-0 vote. Council member John Krummen was absent because of a death in his family.

The new mission 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."

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Council member Theresa Sullivan said the mission statement provides the "verbiage" about what Naperville values. But she, like White, called for the city to do more to act out its emphasis on inclusion.

"Hopefully we do a lot more just beyond words," Sullivan said.

Council member Patrick Kelly said the city couldn't avoid the fact the two race-related incidents are what prompted the update. That's why several on the council pushed to get the change made Tuesday, a date already approaching two months after the Buffalo Wild Wings situation, which took place Oct. 26.

"I think we should move forward and reaffirm our commitment to having a safe and diverse community," council member Kevin Coyne said.

To those seeking sustainability in the statement as well as inclusivity and diversity, council member Judith Brodhead said, the purpose of a mission statement is to be a "distillation" of priorities, not a comprehensive list.

"A mission statement has to be relatively short, relatively simple," Brodhead said. "It can't possibly have all our hopes and dreams in it."

"Hopes and dreams," Sullivan and others on the council said, can be addressed more fully during an upcoming strategic planning process expected to begin next year.

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