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Perspective: Work to end violence in our community

Priscilla Du Preez

When I moved to Illinois, I lived in the mostly-white suburb of Batavia. As a white-passing Black American, I knew that I wanted my children to live somewhere more diverse. Somewhere with faces that didn't look like theirs.

When I moved to DeKalb to study at Northern Illinois University, I knew this was my home.

When I mentioned to white acquaintances that I was moving to DeKalb, the coded language came out. “I hear it’s getting dangerous,” people said. “It’s like the new Cabrini Green.”

The implication was explicit. People were uncomfortable with the growing community of color in DeKalb. I see a diverse community that has the deep-rooted history of prejudice that tarnishes many small-town communities in Illinois.

As I approached my last semester, a job came up with Safe Passage — DeKalb's only domestic violence and sexual assault crisis center. My lived experience with domestic violence drew me to the job, and so did my passion for social justice.

I wanted to work for Safe Passage because I saw a community that I wanted to be a part of — and protect.

As our nation mourns Tyre Nichols and those who came before him, it's important to remember that racial violence — like domestic violence — is also rooted in power and control.

Our community and our stakeholders must commit to ending racism in our increasingly diverse community.

I’m Nia Norris, and that’s my perspective.

Originally from Pittsburgh, Nia Springer-Norris moved to DeKalb in 2021 to pursue a Master of Arts in Communication Studies with an emphasis on Journalism Studies. Nia is also a freelance journalist, editor, and communication consultant.