By Robin Tryloff

Concerned about the growing antagonism against local public institutions, a number of Downers Grove residents recently came together to fight the hateful and threatening attacks on local schools and on the Downers Grove Public Library by forming the group: Not in Our Town-DG (NIOT-DG). Part of a national network (www.niot.org) of communities working against hate, racism, and bullying, with the goal of building safe, inclusive communities and schools for all, NIOT-DG believes that change begins at the local level.

NIOT-DG was formed in reaction to the forced cancellation of the Downers Grove Public Library Drag Queen’s Bingo event, and local efforts to ban books and disrupt public meetings. A variety of groups and individuals have been attacking the homeless library patrons and members of the LGBTQ+ community with vitriol, accusations, bullying, and hate speech. 

NIOT-DG’s goals are: to make Downers Grove a safe, inclusive place for all; to demonstrate the community’s opposition to hate, racism, and bullying; and to elect public officials that share these goals.

NIOT-DG is launching its efforts with two key initiatives. The first is to demonstrate community commitment to fighting hate and to proclaim support for the people, groups, and institutions being attacked, harassed, and bullied. It is doing this by distributing yard and business window signs available on the group’s website: BIT.LY/NIOT-DG. The second initiative is to ask candidates running for public office to complete questionnaires that relate to these goals and to post them on the group’s website for public viewing.

Downers Grove Township Dems can stand in solidarity with the members of our community who are the targets of hate, censorship, bigotry, and bullying by ordering a sign for their yard, encouraging others to do the same, asking businesses to post free flyers and posters, and working to support public officials who explicitly pledge to condemn all forms of hate, bias, and any other actions that threaten our residents’ dignity and humanity. No one and no community should ever be made to feel targeted, isolated, and alone.