In the cover story "Us and Them" [April 5] writer Sarah Downey states that "Bridgeview had once been touted as a symbol of diversity." By whom? And when? I was raised in that village, and left, in part, because the closed-mindedness, fear, and bigotry prevalent there was anything but conducive to promoting diversity. Did the author choose this statement to add a dramatic punch to her recounting of post-9/11 mayhem? And if so, why?
Sarah Downey replies:
I'm not personally familiar with what it was like when Arabs started moving to Bridgeview in the 1970s, but some Arabs have expressed variations on that statement in interviews I've done there over the last few years. The growing number of interfaith activities at local churches, libraries, and the Bridgeview Mosque Foundation reflect more recent efforts to promote diversity and tolerance. Since September 11, however, there seems to be less enthusiasm for that kind of thing.