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“Many empty Naperville storefronts have found new tenants because of our growing diversity. That itself speaks volumes to the value of welcoming different cultures here.”

— Mark Urda

Naperville is a city for all, and all who reside here should feel that they receive equal, respected treatment—from city staff, our valued business community as well as the community at large. Meeting that standard, though, is not simply about checking a box. As a number of news-making local events have shown us, it’s something we must continually work towards. When we stumble, we must learn from it and strive to improve. 

 

We must show that our character is greater than what those stumbles suggest.

 

In light of those events, it's normal to ask, "are we a welcoming community?" Most would say that of course we are! I firmly believe we as a whole are welcoming. There's an oversight, though, with that question: It is too narrowly focused on who enters, while not acknowledging who is already here.

People from diverse backgrounds – Koreans, Chinese, Indians, African Americans, Hispanic and many others – are already our neighbors, valued local business owners and school sports athletes. They x-ray our broken bones, teach our kids to add numbers, manage our investments and represent us in court.

 

They're a part of, and contribute to, what Naperville is. They aren't guests, they're Naperville.