There is a contretemps on Madison Street that needs immediate conversation and reconciliation. It involves Robinson's Bar & Grill, the updated version of the iconic Robinson's #1 Ribs, which has been at home on this street since the 1980s.
Charlie Robinson moved his restaurant a block over last year after village government actively worked to purchase his previous location to clear space for a townhouse project. The new location, a former Leona's, is bigger with amenities that have shifted it toward more full-service bar and event space.
Two nights a week Robinson's hosts a dance party that draws a large, and largely black, audience for step dancing. Calls to Oak Park police have increased, a combination of noise complaints, crowd control, and let's be plain, over-sensitivity to large gatherings of African Americans out on the town.
We've known Charlie Robinson for nearly 40 years. Hard to get a rise out of this gracious man. When he calls this out as having a racial element and talks about moving his business out of town, it is time to stop talking and listen.
Skip the alarm talk of who is a racist and let's have the conversation about racial bias that impacts all of our perceptions and sometimes our actions. This is an opportunity.
Answer Book 2018
To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2018 Answer Book, please click here.
Sign-up to get the latest news updates for Oak Park and River Forest.
|Submit Letter To The Editor|
|Place a Classified Ad|