South Jacksonville Trustees Discuss Diversity Training, Possible Co-Training with City of Jacksonville

By Jeremy Coumbes on June 25, 2020 at 8:39am

City of Jacksonville officials are likely to complete training with Village of South Jacksonville officials in the future.

The Village of South Jacksonville reviewed a civil rights resolution and discussed diversity training during the Committee of the Whole meeting last night.

Village Trustee Paula Belobrajdic-Stewart presented the board with a copy of a Jacksonville resolution to review. Stewart said she had been given the resolution as an example by a Jacksonville resident when the board was discussing the ordinance to allow the village to impose a curfew if needed during times of emergency.

Stewart says the resolution was presented to serve as a template for the board to tailor a civil rights resolution for the village.

The board also discussed Illinois House Bill 4454, which Stewart discovered Tuesday while conducting research for the resolution. HB 4454 was introduced in the House by Representative Lamont J. Robison Jr. in January of this year.

The measure calls for an amendment to the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act, to require “governmental units to adopt an ordinance or resolution establishing a policy of diversity, inclusion, and cultural competence training.”

The bill is currently assigned to the Executive Committee for review.

Stewart says she reached out to Jacksonville Mayor Andy Ezard to find out if the City of Jacksonville was taking part in any diversity training.

When I talked to him I asked if they have diversity training in Jacksonville. He said right now they have ethics training, they do not have diversity training, and before I could say anything else to him, he said ‘If you guys are doing it, we want to be a part of it.’

He said, ‘I see no reason why our communities can’t work together, and can decide on a training together, something because our communities have borders that are really unique.’”

The board also heard from Mia Perry, one of the administrators of the Black Lives Matter of Jacksonville, and Blaize Stewart, son of Trustee Stewart and an LGBTQ activist, during discussion of the resolution and training.

Trustee Stewart says she see’s the resolution and training as a proactive step by the village, and that the reason it is being discussed is not because the board feels that South Jacksonville is inherently racist.

The trustees also discussed the splash pad at Godfrey park as the state readies to move into Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois Plan on Friday.

Public Facilities Manager John Green told the board he did not think it was a good idea to open the splash pad while the Jacksonville City Pool in Nichols Park was going to remain closed. He said he has concerns that the park would be crowded beyond the ability to maintain social distancing and required cleaning as laid out for Phase 4, if the pool is not open as well.

The board had more discussion on the fate of the South Jacksonville Fire Department Ambulance. After much discussion, the board will add the possibility of partial funding of the ambulance service to the agenda for further discussion at their next meeting.

The funding will likely come with certain conditions pertaining to both the age of the vehicle and services provided by it.

The Board of Trustees will meet for their July business meeting next Thursday July, 3rd.