BERWYN – Berwyn Community Action, a group of Berwyn residents concerned with immigration and racial justice, is continuing to urge the city of Berwyn to address the issue of racial profiling, the group said in a July 8 statement.
The concern originally was brought to the attention of Mayor Robert Lovero and members of the City Council after publication of the April 2019 Berwyn Watch newsletter that encouraged residents to call the police on “transient” criminals described with “medium to dark complexioned” with “dark hair and eyes” and “often mistaken for Hispanic.”
Alderwoman Alicia Ruiz and Police Chief Michael Cimaglia recently issued statements in response to the concerns raised by Berwyn Community Action.
In response to the city’s handling of the issue, Berwyn Community Action commended the city for addressing allegations that Berwyn police engage in racial profiling and that the city promotes racial profiling and discrimination by residents, according to the statement.
The group acknowledged that steps have been taken by the city’s Human Relations and Housing Committee to address the possible adoption of language by the city, the police department and city officials particularly on social media forums that would discourage discrimination and hate speech, the statement said.
Berwyn Community Action is still calling upon the city and Alderman Ralph Avila to hold an open meeting of the city’s Fire and Police Commission to address policies with the police department that specifically addresses racial profiling as a police practice.
The group believes a resident commission, such as the Berwyn Diversity Commission created by Ruiz, can be a starting point. Members have been named to the commission, but have not been sworn in.
“However, since members of the diversity commission were hand-selected by Alderwoman Ruiz and may exclude residents who have firsthand knowledge of racial profiling and is led by an alderwoman who has stated on record that she does not believe racial profiling exists, the effectiveness of this endeavor to create accountability and real change is yet to be seen,” the statement reads.
Berwyn Community Action condemns any form of profiling and discrimination, and is committed to maintaining an environment of stability, safety and diversity in Berwyn, the statement reads.
The group will continue to organize for equity and justice for all Berwyn residents, according to the statement.