Naperville event helps 'stay the course on nonviolence'
Advocates for better police-community relations got the chance Thursday to hear for the second time this year from the sister-in-law of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. about the storied civil rights leader's nonviolent ways.
Naomi Ruth Barber King spoke at Pfeiffer Hall on the campus of North Central College, the same Naperville location where King himself addressed a crowd in 1960.
She presented for a group of police, community leaders and students of various ages who were gathered by Unity Partnership, which has been working for two years to bridge gaps between police departments and African American communities across DuPage. She also signed copies of her 2014 book, "AD and ML King: Two Brothers who Dared to Dream."
Her appearance followed a keynote address she gave in January, also before a Unity Partnership gathering of roughly 80 police chiefs and others in Naperville.
Regina Brent, president and founder of Unity Partnership, said the group brought Barber King back to commemorate the 50th anniversary of her brother-in-law's assassination and to "stay the course on nonviolence."
Organizers also included an implicit bias workshop hosted by Adrienne Coleman, director of equity and inclusion at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora.
"We feel like everyone has biases, no matter who we are," Brent said. "It is important to help us to define that and acknowledge that, first and foremost. Secondly, once we can identify the biases that we have as a human being, we have the power as a human being to control it."
Fred Greenwood, vice president of Unity Partnership, said events such as Thursday's help residents and police officers understand each other and help young people gain context on the civil rights progress of the past.
"We don't want to go backward," Greenwood said. "We want to continue living in a society where everyone can benefit."