Hundred of messages of love and support can be seen sprawled across the front of an Oak Park café after a brick with a racist message was thrown at the restaurant’s glass door earlier this week.
Reesheda Graham Washington, a Black woman and owner Live Café & Creative Space, says she appreciates the messages from residents seen along her restaurant’s windows and sidewalks and will not let the racist message intimidate her.
“We say things like at least no one was harmed. Are you kidding me?” Graham Washington exclaimed as residents surrounded the café in support. “No one was harmed? This place represents all of us.”
The café serves as a meeting place for several Oak Park residents who are running for office. Two African American candidates for village trustee said they were the targets of the brick’s message.
"By no means should a racist be comfortable enough to come across this business and try to throw a brick through the window with what they wrote on that brick," said trustee candidate Anthony Clark. "We should be the ones that feel welcomed here. We should be the ones that feel empowered because we’re the ones that are truly invested in making this community better."
According to police, the brick was wrapped in a piece of paper that had a racist slur scrawled on it.
The glass did not shatter, but the damage was done.
“This division that we’ve been facing for so long, it needs to go,” trustee candidate Chibuike Enyia said. “It’s not helping us be more productive. Our country is struggling right now and we need to lift each other up.”
A vigil is planned outside the café Thursday evening.
The incident is still under investigation, but police say the incident appears to be an isolated event and are not technically labeling it as a hate crime. Investigators said anyone with information about the incident is urged to contact the Oak Park Police Department at 708-386-3800.