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Local

DeKalb County Board member calls colleague's comments on Black Lives Matter 'offensive'

SYCAMORE – A DeKalb County Board member took issue with a comment made by another board member that was directed at Black families during this week's County Board meeting.

Crawford said she was offended by Hughes saying the Black Lives Matter organization is communist and at fault for destroying Black nuclear families.

Rukisha Crawford, DeKalb County Board member for District 6, said during the Wednesday night County Board meeting public comment portion she was made aware by a resident of written comments made by County Board member Tim Hughes, of District 2, within the DeKalb County Farm Bureau voter guide for the upcoming election during which he called the Black Lives Matter movement a "communist organization." She said she wanted to bring up the matter before the full board to get a better understanding of why the comment was made.

"Because I felt it was offensive and insensitive," Crawford, a Democrat, said.

Hughes, a Republican, is up for reelection Nov. 3 against Democrat Christi Slavenas. Crawford is running as the Democratic candidate for DeKalb County Circuit Clerk's Office against Lori Grubbs, the Republican candidate.

Hughes' comments within the voter guide were made in response to the question, "What issues related to county government and agriculture do you think the County Board needs to address?" His response was that he felt that the Black Lives Matter movement is not a national issue anymore because there is such a group within the county and called the group a communist organization.

"They are against capitalism and nuclear family," Hughes, a Republican, wrote in the farm bureau voter guide. "Look what the lack of a nuclear family has done to Illinois black families."

Hughes was not present in the virtual County Board meeting during Crawford's comments but was present after the public comment portion of the meeting. He was not available for additional comment following the meeting at the request of Daily Chronicle.

County officials confirmed implicit bias training sessions conducted in partnership with Northern Illinois University faculty have been made available to county department heads on Sept. 30. Similar training sessions have yet to be scheduled for County Board members and the general public, although county officials said the hope was to have those scheduled for early November.

DeKalb County Board Chairman Mark Pietrowski Jr. said the update comes after community members requested that type of training to be available within the community during previous local town hall meetings addressing civil rights concerns.

“So that was something we wanted to tackle immediately,” Pietrowski said.

Pietrowski said the implicit bias training is not required for elected officials per state or local law. However, he wanted to encourage board members to attend the training, he said.

“That was disappointing to read those comments,” Pietrowski said.

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