Tuesday, May 24, 2022

I strongly condemn anti-Black racism, anti-Muslim hate, antisemitic hate, xenophobic and racial harassment in all of its forms. Those sentiments are abhorrent to our community of Highland Park.

I had the distinct pleasure of talking with the artist Amrisa Niranjan as she installed her artwork on the side of the building in town. When she told me of a terrible verbal confrontation she endured, I immediately called the police chief who instructed the officers to increase their patrols in the area as she worked. I want to personally apologize to Amrisa, for not being able to make her feel completely safe by providing onsite personal protection, as I had hoped.

I speak on behalf of myself, and behalf of my office. I don’t know what antiracism in the 21st century looks like, but I want to advocate for it and be a part of the vision for change.

Highland Park isn’t a perfect community. It’s not even enough that it’s a nice community. That certainly was made clear by the defacing of this mural. As mayor, I want to work toward seeing our community aspire to the ideal that this mural so effortlessly projects. We must be a community that practices extreme hospitality. Highland Park must not only talk about antiracist policies, but practice it, throughout its government agencies and social life.

The defacement of the mural is a tragedy, in so many ways. The potential for hate on the streets of Highland Park is still present.

Work needs to be done that we aren’t equipped to facilitate alone. We’re committing to a public and transparent process for protecting our Black and racially minoritized residents who are subject to racial violence.

Highland Park strongly opposes anti-Black racism, anti-Muslim hate, antisemitic hate, anti-LGBTQ hate, racial and xenophobic harassment. I’m calling on you all now to keep me and my administration accountable; to make Highland Park the community we’d all like to be proud of.

Gayle Brill Mittler
Mayor, Highland Park

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