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OP/ED Some Look At Problems Through The Wrong End Of A Telescope

5/18/2016, 3:19 p.m. | Updated on 5/18/2016, 3:19 p.m.
We need to recognize that the acts of violence and racial hatred committed across our nation, can also take place ...
Frank M. Zuccarelli, Thornton Township Supervisor

OP/ED Some Look At Problems Through The Wrong End Of A Telescope

By: Frank M. Zuccarelli, Thornton Township Supervisor

Perhaps you read one or two of the recent Chicago Tribune articles

criticizing Thornton Township’s recent visit to the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

It’s true that Thornton Township invested approximately $150,000 on:

  1. A public service campaign urging that the Emanuel AME Church of Charleston, SC be considered for a Nobel Peace Prize.

  2. An outreach trip to Charleston, SC to meet with local community, religious, law enforcement and civic leaders. What is not true is that this outreach effort was a waste of taxpayer dollars. Quite the contrary. First, as I’m sure most will agree, the fabric of our community has been frayed by strained relationships between township residents and local police departments.

Throughout our nation and here within our community, violence – particularly gun violence – seems to escalate almost daily. Basic civility and respect for one another is under siege.

We need to recognize that the acts of violence and racial hatred committed across our nation, can also take place here in Thornton Township. That’s why we need to magnify and extend our efforts to address these issues, in order to avoid the violent outpourings that have taken place in Ferguson, Baltimore, New York, Cleveland and other communities as a result of violent acts.

The Charleston outreach initiative was the genesis of our commitment to do more than just sit on our hands when it comes to advancing peace, unity and mutual respect here at home.

What we identified through our effort was an unconventional, invaluable source for solutions and optimism – both in short supply these days, not just in Thornton Township – but throughout the country.

In my view, those who’ve criticized this effort, are looking at the issue through the wrong end of a telescope.

There is no substitute for sitting and talking in person, on site, with key people involved in this remarkable story of nearly community-wide unity, support, forgiveness and peace.

The people of Charleston – led by the congregation of the Emanuel AME Church and

the Charleston Police Department – are doing something very right, something dramatically different than most other communities where violent acts have taken place.

Critics fail to mention that in the wake of our trip to Charleston, that Thornton Township organized a community conference, bringing together nearly 300 of our township’s educational, religious, civic leaders and law enforcement officials.

Our entire effort to advance the cause of unity, peace, and mutual respect is proactive and preventative in nature. We aren’t simply reacting to the latest piece of bad news.

Instead, we are looking at ways to prevent bad news from happening in the first place – as was the case in Charleston.