Oak Park Village President Vicki Scaman has issued an apology for a statement she made during an April 4 village board meeting that the fear held by Black and Brown people of being stopped by police is tantamount to the distress women feel regarding sexual assault and that both were inevitable. The comment was made while discussing a resolution, which passed, to purchase controversial automated license plate reading cameras for the police department’s use.
“As many stories as every Black person and many Brown in being stopped by the police is the same for every single woman, you know, and every daughter and every mother, of unwanted sexual advancement. It’s just a fact of life,” Scaman said at the meeting. “And it’s gonna unfortunately continue. But I do believe Oak Park can do better…”
Scaman’s apology, which she posted on her personal Facebook page, came two days after the meeting, following backlash on social media from local progressives for the comparison.
“At Monday night’s village board meeting I made a harmful and racist comparison of Black and Brown experiences with police as similarly inevitable as that of women facing unwanted sexual advances in life,” Scaman wrote on Facebook.
“I am deeply sorry and understand the comparison of oppression is harmful and wrong.”
Scaman told Wednesday Journal she had been “sitting with discomfort” over the comment before she saw the criticism on social media. She said that a friend reached out to her about her comparison after the village board meeting.
In her apology post, the village president said she hurt people with her words but was “grateful to be called out” by members of the community, so that she can work to become better. Scaman wrote that she has been doing her best to be present in “these moments” to avoid repeating the error.
“I know that I have caused harm,” Scaman wrote. “To all that I have hurt I am sorry.”
Scaman also shared in her Facebook post that she hesitated to reiterate what she said in the meeting because she did not want those words to cause further harm.
The village president told Wednesday Journal she decided to post the apology to her personal Facebook account because she does not typically engage in the discourse of Oak Park-related groups on social media outlets. Scaman added that she intends to engage more actively with the village’s citizen commissions so that the desires of the community are always heard.
“I am still reflecting on what it looks like to repair harm,” she said.
via Oak Park
April 6, 2022 at 06:16PM