From Left to Right: Terri Johnson (C-Change in Action), Dr. Kassie Porreca (Regina Dominican HS), Gerry Smith (Human Relations Commission Chair), Kelly Jackson (Highcrest Middle School/District 39), Dr. Chimille Tillery (New Trier), Steve Wilson (Wilmette Park District), and George Davis (Baha’i House of Worship)

Candid Stories & Reflections Meet Future Aspirations & Hopes

“We all have role to play in this effort. The discussions and solutions around diversity and inclusiveness are not quick, and they are not always comfortable. But as we engage with one another it allows us to plan for what we strive for this community to be in the future.” – Senta Plunkett, Village President


Wilmette Talk #2: Moving Towards a More Welcoming Wilmette & What it Means to Belong was a powerful evening of coming together, candid reflections, personal experiences, and future aspirations. A video of the evening, dialogue, and Q+A will be shared in the coming weeks – please subscribe via the website at ReadySetWilmette.com to receive. Thank you to the wonderful residents, community members, panelists, and institutions who took part as Wilmette looks to make strides forward on the topics of inclusion, diversity, belonging.

From Left to Right: Terri Johnson (C-Change in Action), Neela Chandraraj (New Trier Junior, Wilmette’s Human Relations Commission), Gerry Smith (Chair, Human Relations Commission)

“We need to act as if the people we want to be here are already here…”– Neela Chandraraj, New Trier Junior, Wilmette’s Human Relations Commission

“To belong, first people have to be recognized for who they are. And that gets complicated because of differences. You can choose to focus on the differences or, instead, what you may have in common.” – George Davis, Baha’i House of Worship.

“We provide a platform where people come together – whether it’s a major event or a Saturday soccer game. You see people coming together, slowly start talking, parents on the sidelines… it’s not right out of the gates, but by the end of the year families are planning parties together. That’s where I see successes throughout.”– Steve Wilson, Wilmette Park District


Complex Topics + Ongoing Conversation

As celebrated by some of the panelist quotes above and audience questions below – these topics are complex and the conversation is ongoing. We will be working to explore the answers to these questions and more as part of ongoing efforts by the Village, the Human Relations Commission, and Comprehensive Planning effort.

Audience Questions: How do we respond to people who feel that anti-racist efforts are unnecessary? Often times, conversations about diversity and inclusion don’t mention people with disabilities, including those with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. How should Wilmette embrace people with disabilities? Having more affordable housing options in Wilmette would be helpful to encourage diversity… is this possible? Can you give an example of an interaction/situation in Wilmette where you felt like you were treated as unwelcome, or an outsider, and what would have made all the difference?

Special thanks to Village President Senta Plunkett for sharing opening remarks, to our panelists: Neela Chandraraj (New Trier Junior, Wilmette’s Human Relations Commission), George Davis (Baha’i House of Worship), Kelly Jackson (Highcrest Middle School/District 39), Dr. Kassie Porreca (Regina Dominican HS), Dr. Chimille Tillery (New Trier), Steve Wilson (Wilmette Park District), and our moderators Terri Johnson (C-Change in Action) and Gerry Smith (Wilmette Human Relations Commission Chair), and to Regina Dominican for sharing their auditorium for the event!

Share Today: Poll 2 on Diversity, Inclusion, and Wellbeing is Live!



Subscribe below for project news.