Administration joins Race Unity

Administration takes steps towards inclusion, works for belonging


Community members gather inside La Grange Village Hall on Sept. 12 for Race Unity Rally (Morales/LION).

Abe Morales, News Editor, Multimedia Editor

The 30th annual Race Unity Rally was held on Sept. 12 at 3 p.m. in the La Grange Village Hall. Superintendent Dr. Brian Waterman, Principal Dr. Jennifer Tyrrell and Director of Equity and Belonging Dr. Jennifer Rowe were invited to speak at the event this year. 

“I’m honored that Dr. Waterman, Dr. Rowe, and myself could be just a small part of the rally and share the exciting work that we have happening at LT,” Tyrrell said. “The work that we are prioritizing here at LT really aligns with what the rally is all about, and that’s belonging.” 

The CommUNITY Diversity Group of La Grange founded the Race Unity Rally in April 1992– shortly after the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles. 

King was an African American man who fell victim to police brutality. On March 3, 1991, King was brutally beaten by four Los Angeles police officers during his arrest. His beating was recorded by a bystander, then televised across the nation. 

“When you see something like that happening on television, or even right in front of you, either you stay quiet and let it continue to happen, or you speak out about it,” co-chair of the CommUNITY Diversity Group, Linda Eastman said. “We chose to speak out about it and now host a rally annually to remember our roots.”

The CommUNITY Diversity Group of La Grange has sustained the same mission statement from 30 years ago: to express the belief that all people are important in a caring community, Eastman said.

“For the race unity rally to endure for 30 years, is incredibly remarkable,” Tyrrell said. “There’s not many things that have endured that much time.” 

The theme for this year’s Race Unity Rally was, “racial healing through understanding our history,” inspired by James W. Loewen, author of many novels analyzing American history and its deceptive truths. Loewen was a firm believer in sharing the truth about the past to help create justice for the present. 

The main focus of the Race Unity Rally is to create a platform to not only discuss cultural and racial differences, but to also celebrate them. Many community groups and members are given a stage to share some remarks and help further educate other community members about the implications of our social and political structures, Eastman said.

The CommUNITY Diversity Group hosted other events called diversity days to continue the discussions on race and belonging in the La Grange community. On Aug. 31, a virtual book discussion was held over Zoom, and on Sept. 11, a “diversity storytime” was held at the La Grange Public Library. These events are hosted regularly to keep the conversation of diversity alive, Eastman said.

“Attending an event where you are welcomed to laugh, cry, and connect with people is truly something special,” Tyrrell said. “I was moved by all of the feelings during a two-hour [rally], and to me that says that the event was really special. We will continue our partnership with the CommUNITY Diversity Group and look forward to all efforts that we can collaborate on moving forward.”