Chance missed to show commitment to diversity

Posted5/11/2021 1:00 AM

League of Women Voters Arlington Heights-Mount Prospect-Buffalo Grove (LWV-AH-MP-BG) has never in our 101-year history endorsed a single candidate or party for office. We do, however, create relationships with our elected officials and serve as guardians of our democracy.

LWV-AH-MP-BG commends Arlington Heights School District 25 for unanimously approving the strategic plan, entitled "Together Today to Transform Tomorrow: Empower an Inclusive, Diverse Community of Learners to Innovate and Thrive as Global Citizens." The plan aims to develop "competence to address diversity, equity, social justice, racism, and inclusion in our everyday practices," which would include meetings of the Dist. 25 school board.


Unfortunately, at last week's meeting, diversity, equity, and inclusion lost. Anisha Patel, who was the single candidate of color in the last board election and won the most votes by over 3%, was nominated by board member Greg Scapillato for the vice presidency. Ms. Patel accepted and laid out her qualifications: a previous term on the board, 25 years of education experience, a master's in educational organization and leadership, and her current work toward a doctorate in organizational change and leadership. Yet, the board voted against her, 6-2, despite her clear constituent support, awarding her the traditionally female role of secretary instead. Nearly all public comments after the vote were critical of the board for its choice.

Rather than demonstrating to the community that DEI is not lip service but a priority, board members undermined their own claims to have prioritized the elevation of diverse and qualified choices in their vote.

LWV-AH-MP-BG calls on our community to communicate with elected officials to make their desires known. It is clear from this last election: our communities demand that policies and actions of locally elected officials live up to the promises they have made.

Heidi Graham, President League of Women Voters of Arlington Heights-Mount Prospect-Buffalo Grove

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