Who is DuPage United?
Founded in 2003, DuPage United is a non-partisan organization made up of organizations including church, synagogue, and mosque congregations, education associations, and civic organizations. Also eligible for membership are business associations, parent-teacher and student organizations, labor unions, health care and educational institutions and other community organizations.
Why was DuPage United formed?
DuPage United‘s “purpose is creation of a broad-based, non-partisan, civic organization with sufficient relational power to take collective action for social and economic changes that will benefit the people of DuPage County.” Translated: DuPage United’s member organizations work together to influence decision-makers in DuPage County to improve the social and economic situation for DuPage County residents. Member institutions highlight issues and concerns to the steering team which decides which issues to pursue.
DuPage United and the temple’s CEC/DU Core Team
At DuPage United ‘s leaders meeting on June 18, 2018 over 30 leaders from the 27 member institutions attended including our representatives : Mary Hason, Harriet Rose, Ben Weiskopf and Mary-Jo Wolsky.
The DuPage United Mental Health Team
Members from Mental Health Team reported on meetings held with both candidates for DuPage Sheriff. Both candidates are concerned about keeping those with a mental illness out of jail. They both agreed with the DuPage United three-part strategy of training law officers in Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training, crisis stabilization centers in our county so that police/ sheriff deputies have a place to take those in mental crisis rather than to an expensive hospital ER and thirdly, affordable/supportive housing. In August, DuPage United will decide if there will be a fall assembly, before the elections, when we might have the sheriff candidates speak and ask them to publicly pledge their support for issues supported by DuPage United.
There have been several other meetings with key leaders hospital leaders in and out of the county about our three-part strategy. Our sister organization, Fox River Valley Initiatives has a win - this fall, a Crisis Stabilization Center will open at Presence Mercy in Aurora.
At the leaders meeting, we also discussed the flyer, written by Greg Pierce as a follow up to the March 11th Attorney General Assembly that outlines our strategy to end the incarceration of people with mental illness. DuPage United along with our sister organizations are handing out the flyers. At Etz Chaim on June 8, a Ramblers Service, Rabbi Kamil talked about mental health issues and the flyers were available in the lobby. Click here for the flyer.
Reports on the Prepared and Rapid Response team and the Do Not Stand Idly By Training are separate articles in this ebulletin.
The CEC/DU Core Team which brings information from DuPage United to members at temple and listens to temple members concerns about social justice issues which are shared with DuPage United, met on June 25. Core team members are reading People’s Institutions in Decline by Michael Gecan. Michael Gecan who has spoken at Etz Chaim, is the Co-director of the IAF (Industrial Areas Foundation). DuPage United is a part of the IAF which is the oldest and largest network of broad-based citizen organizations in the country.
Do Not Stand Idly By Team
On April 8th more than 30 leaders attended a training at our temple about Metro Industrial Areas Foundation’s (Metro IAF’s) strategy to reduce gun violence called “Do Not Stand Idly By”. This training was the impetus for DuPage United leaders to meet with Lisle Chief of Police Dave Anderson and Hinsdale Chief of Police Brian King. They were asked to sign the RFI (request for information) that DNSIB has created. The intent is to put pressure on gun manufacturers to create smart guns and also to track their own distribution channels to understand how guns end up in the hands of bad people.
We have been making progress. Just last week, the shareholders of a major American gun company took a modest step toward responsibly by addressing the unacceptable levels of gun-related deaths and crime in our nation. Shareholders of Sturm, Ruger & Co. passed a resolution at the company's annual shareholders' meeting that was drafted and introduced by leaders of the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), with the support of Metro IAF, requiring the company to issue a report on its actions to mitigate harm associated with its products.
Management asked its shareholders at the meeting to vote against it, but a team of religious and civic leaders from our groups who had purchased Sturm Ruger shares were there urging a "yes" vote and seeking dialogue with Ruger CEO Christopher Killoy.
And we won! We are proud that Rev. Mike Solberg from Union Church of Hinsdale was at this meeting representing DuPage United! Rev. Solberg is quoted in this NPR story. There was also an op-ed in the New York Daily News related to this success.
The Etz Chaim DNSIB Team, led by Harriet Rose, will be meeting on 6/27 to discuss next steps.
Prepared and Rapid Response Team (PRRT)
On April 21st it was brought to the attention of the PRRT, that a ‘satirical’ poem was displayed in an art display for social justice at the Aurora Public Library. The art work was offensive, frightening, and inciting violence toward Muslims, women, and African Americans, and as an extension all members of DuPage United (DU), even if the original intent was satirical. The PRRT quickly organized with several other concerned members of DU to coordinate a response
Accordingly, on April 25th, 10 leaders from Metro IL IAF, DU, the PRRT, and along with the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC) attended the Aurora Public Library Board meeting in response to the satirical poem that was on display. Our spokeswomen, Aliya Husain, from Islamic Foundation Villa Park gave an empowered and emotional statement. You can view her statement here.
The communication and coordination led to the President of the board calling for the removal of the poem, and the woman for which the library is named apologizing and embracing with Aliya in an emotional moment. This was a good example of a coordinated "Rapid Response" from our team and it was recognized by the library board, all those who were in attendance, in addition to the Aurora Beacon News and the Daily Herald.