Highland Park, Community

Wilmette, Highland Park join other suburbs to unite against hate

Thirty-five Chicago suburbs — a majority coming from northern Chicagland — have joined forces to help stem a growing fear of hateful and antisemitic activity, according to a joint news release.

The suburban contingent includes Glencoe, Wilmette, Northfield and Highland Park, all communities in The Record’s coverage area, as well as northern neighbors Lincolnwood, Skokie, Glenview and Deerfield, among others.

The release says the collaboration is not in response to any specific incidents, but is an acknowledgment of the a “widespread increase in antisemitic and Islamophobic language, imagery and behavior” that has coincided with the ongoing violence in Israel and Gaza.

Hamas militants attacked the people of Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,400 and capturing at least 240. Israeli counteroffensives and other ensuing violence has resulted in thousands more dead, including at least 13,000 civilians in Gaza, according to health authorities in the region.

In the statement, the communities commit to public safety, including the “continued multi-jurisdictional exchange of information, joint training initiatives, and shared public safety dispatch services.”

Below is full verbiage of the statement:

As suburban cities and villages across the region, we stand united behind a core shared value: the unequivocal condemnation of all acts of hate. During these times of strife, we are more committed than ever to safeguarding our communities. We strive to be inclusive and welcoming spaces for the residents, businesses, and students who call our communities home as well as any visitors, and strongly oppose hate-motivated hostility that only serves to sow division and fear.

Our vigilance has been heightened as the ongoing war in Israel and Gaza, as well as the accompanying violence, have impacted many of our residents. This has led to an unsettling surge in inflammatory, antisemitic and Islamophobic rhetoric and behavior on a global scale. The heavy burden of grief, anxiety, and isolation is one that many community members bear as they and their families confront the consequences of terrorism.

While no specific threats have been reported in our communities, we understand that our residents are concerned about the wide-spread increase in antisemitic and Islamophobic language, imagery, or behavior. Protecting public safety remains our highest priority, and in today’s interconnected world, it is a shared responsibility among regional, state and federal government partners.

Our collaboration transcends boundaries, fostering regional awareness and a coordinated response to the concerns of our residents — whether local, national, or global. This regional alignment is possible through the continued multi-jurisdictional exchange of information, joint training initiatives, and shared public safety dispatch services. We are proud of the strong partnerships that link our communities.

We rely on the entire community to assist in promoting public safety. It is essential that community members – including residents, business owners and employees — report suspicious behaviors, threats, or other activity to law enforcement by calling 911. The United States Department of Homeland Security encourages all Americans to familiarize themselves with recognizing and reporting suspicious behaviors by using the resources at dhs.gov/see-something-say-something.

The Cities of Evanston, Highland Park, and Highwood, and the Villages of Arlington Heights, Bannockburn, Carol Stream, Deerfield, Flossmoor, Forest Park, Forest View, Glencoe, Glenview, Grayslake, Hampshire, Hainesville, Hazel Crest, Hoffman Estates, La Grange, La Grange Park, Lake Bluff, Lake in the Hills, Lincolnshire, Lincolnwood, Lindenhurst, North Barrington, North Riverside, Northbrook, Northfield, Palos Park, Richton Park, Skokie, Vernon Hills, Wadsworth, Wheeling and Wilmette will continue to collaborate with federal and state law enforcement agencies and antiterrorism professionals. Together, we will continue to monitor intelligence and implement additional measures to protect the public’s safety in our communities.

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joe coughlin
Joe Coughlin

Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319

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