The Illinois Chapter of the American Planning Association would like to express deep sadness for the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis Police Officers earlier last week and for the senseless violence experienced daily by Black communities in Illinois and nationwide. We acknowledge that the trauma and suffering that police brutality inflicts on Black communities is fueled not only by individual and interpersonal racism, but by the institutional and structural racism that has existed in our cities for generations.
Feelings of anger, sadness, frustration, helplessness, and grief are consuming our Black communities. We see you, we hear you, and we stand alongside you. The inequities in our country are apparent and as professionals and humans, we won't stand for it nor will we let you stand alone.
To say these are extraordinary and fragile times for our country would be an understatement. To ignore what is happening in our own communities would be, for us as planning professionals, a dereliction of duty and a willful disregard of the Ethical Principles all planners commit themselves to. It is our responsibility to pursue and faithfully serve the public interest. We must seek social justice by expanding opportunity and recognize our responsibility to disadvantaged groups to not only promote but actually work towards racial and economic equity. These ideals are stated clearly in APA’s ethical principles and our AICP Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.
These ethical principles are important reminders that we as planners can be a powerful force for change and instigators for meaningful action. Our actions can and should significantly improve the quality of life for all residents, but most importantly those who have historically suffered from casual, blatant and institutional racism, and the resulting social and economic isolation and disenfranchisement. Regardless of size or location, our communities stand to benefit from more inclusive practices. We owe it to our Black colleagues and community members to listen with compassion and work together to dismantle the systems that have allowed violence to continue.
Our nation cries out for leadership to finally institute those social, cultural, and economic changes that will positively impact the most disadvantaged members of our communities. Seize this moment. Be a force for change. Listen to Black voices and use your platforms to elevate them. Learn from others and speak truth to power. Meaningful societal and economic change rises up from our local communities, and you as a planning professional hold a unique and central position to be that transformative leader our country has so desperately needed.
The APA Illinois Board of Directors is doubling down and recommitting itself to these ethical principles and to our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, with specific emphasis on Black voices and Black communities. We expect the entire APA Illinois membership to do the same, every day, of every week, of every year. We all must be relentless in pursuit of these principles, and in our commitment to the protection and promotion of Black planners, Black communities, and any other marginalized groups seeking justice.
Over the next few weeks, you will start to see resources, surveys, discussions and more aimed to educate our members about anti-racism and equitable planning practices. In the meantime, if you have questions, comments, or suggestions for the Board, we invite you to contact us at ilapa.org/contact-us.
The Executive Committee of the American Planning Association Illinois Chapter
President - Jake Seid, AICP, CMAP
Past President - T.J. Blakeman, AICP, City of Champaign
Secretary - Stephanie Ashe Brown, AICP, Chastain & Associates
Treasurer - Christina Bader, AICP, CTA
At Large Officer - Emily Egan, AICP, City of Elmhurst
Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Officer - Nina Idemudia, AICP, MUSE Planning + Design
Professional Development Officer - Trevor Dick, AICP, City of Aurora
Chicago Metro Section Director - Brandon Nolin, AICP, Houseal Lavigne Associates
Illinois State Section Director - Ben LeRoy, City of Champaign
Awards Committee Chair - Tim Gustafson, AICP, Epstein
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee Chair - Kalindi Parikh, Chicago Loop Alliance
Legislative Committee Chair - David Silverman, AICP, Ancel Glink
Membership Committee Chair - Emily Egan, AICP, City of Elmhurst
Plan Commissioner Training Committee Chair - Michael Blue, FAICP, Teska Associates
Pro-Bono Program - Jaemi Jackson, AICP, City of Highland Park
Professional Development Committee Chair - Trevor Dick, AICP, City of Aurora
UIUC Student Representative - Shanay Patel, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
UIC Student Representative - Sandy Koo, University of Illinois at Chicago
UIUC Faculty Representative - Dustin Allred, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
UIC Faculty Representative - Curt Winkle, University of Illinois at Chicago
Executive Director - Paula Freeze, NIU Center for Governmental Studies