East Village Association members will vote Monday for the group's president, vice president, treasurer and secretary. Additional nominations will be accepted before the vote. Meet your neighbors and take part at 7pm in the Happy Village, 1959 N. Wolcott Ave.
These people have volunteered for this year's EVA board of directors.
McKnight's practice focuses on insurance coverage disputes and commercial litigation. This background provides him with a unique understanding of Chicago’s diverse communities and the culture of Chicago’s legal community. The Tulane University law graduate is a member of the Illinois bar, the trial bar for United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and the bar of the United States Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
Dan Johnson, vice president – I've been an East Village resident for the last two years since my wife, Julia, and I bought a house on Winchester built more than a century ago. We've a 2-year-old daughter who enjoys walking around the neighborhood, playing at Commercial Park and eating lunch at the local restaurants. We're expecting another baby girl in April and look forward to strolling through East Village with another family member.
We lived in Lakeview for years and moved to East Village for a number of reasons, including the short commute to the Loop, the unique character of the architecture, the vibrancy created by the different businesses, the mature trees and the walking distance to a pizza place, gelato store, supermarket or bakery. I'm interested in preserving and enhancing the qualities of the neighborhood, both food and non-food related, that drew us here.
I'm a graduate of Amherst College and Northwestern University law school and I'm a litigation partner at a law firm. I grew up in New Jersey and have lived in Chicago for 13 years. That's long enough to learn a great deal about the city, but not long enough to develop an efficient approach to snow shoveling.
I moved to East Village just over two years ago and I’ve grown to love this neighborhood for its mix of inhabitants and blend of architecture. Serving on the EVA board has left me with a deep sense of appreciation for EVA’s role in shaping the neighborhood.presentation to members about the federal environmental assessment process for the Ashland Bus Rapid Transit plan.
She was born and raised in Michigan, and attended college in New York and law school in Chicago. She's worked as an environmental attorney for more than 22 years in Chicago (1991-95, 2002-present), New York (1995-98) and Boston (1998-2002). She lives near Augusta & Wood with her jazz-guitarist husband Paul Kogut, their dog (Sparky) and two cats (Honey & Trixie). She takes fastidious notes at every opportunity.
Gladys Alcazar-Anselmo – As East Village Association president in 1997 and 1998 and board member for several years, I worked on the initial implementation of the CAPS program and spearheaded the preservation efforts that resulted in the city’s purchase of the Goldblatt’s building, now home to city offices and our local library.
I have more than 10 years' professional experience in municipal government, focusing on special projects and operations management. Currently I provide tailored management consulting services including program development and implementation, construction project management, meeting planning and documentation preparation. A graduate of DePaul University, I earned a Master of Arts in human services & counseling/ management and a Bachelor of Science in marketing.
Born and raised in the Logan Square community, I've lived in East Village for more than 20 years and know the commitment it takes for residents who want to improve their community.
Greg Nagel – I served as an EVA president for two years and vice president for the two years preceding Neal McKnight's term. I'm excited to stay involved in a more advisory capacity.
When I first joined EVA, it was an anti-development and business unfriendly organization in my estimation, where many neighbors were chased out of the group. I now feel the organization has a much healthier tone and does a good job balancing development and resident lifestyle issues. Our homes are both our nest and our nest egg, and we need to consider both. As I've learned about urban planning, my viewpoint's moved from pro-development to a more moderate position.
I work as a residential real estate agent specializing in West Town, and in June 2013 I opened my own brokerage, Ask Nagel at 1919 W. Division St. As a local independent business owner with true neighborhood expertise, I work with buyers and sellers on houses, condos, and multiunit apartment buildings in West Town. In 2013 I was featured on two episodes of HGTV’s "House Hunters." My individual sales "client results" were $16.1 million, making me a Top 1% Producer of all Chicago brokers. My immediate followup, availability and dedication make clients feel they're my most important customers.
I'm a huge proponent of West Town and East Village. This is a beautiful, affordable, green residential community just steps from downtown. I've lived in my four-flat on the 1000 block of Winchester for the last 11 years, and you'll often find me on my roof deck smoking a cigar and having a drink or three.Rivet News Radio, a custom news app for smartphones. I've also taught a college course and served as officer of a national professional society.
Volunteering for EVA helped me and my wife (ex-EVA president Brenda G. Russell) make friends and make a difference in our neighborhood. Since starting this website in 2007 I've played bigger roles in crafting EVA's communication strategy. Web features in the works will aid East Village's many new residents. To join in, e-mail me.
Robert Schickel Biography not available.
I'm a 14 year member of the CAPS program at the 12th District CPD, and served as president for the East Village Neighbors from 2009 to 2010. I've been an EVA board member, since 2010.
I grew up in Des Plaines, where I graduated from Maine Township High School. I received a BFA from Northern Illinois University and studied at the Art Institute of Chicago. I've owned Tomek Design & Illustration Inc. since 1994 and also a partner at Atomek Design Ltd. since 2005. I’ve made a career in the Graphic Design and Fine Art fields.
I'm also a residential broker with the Ask Nagel Realty Team. I use my knowledge and experience of the West Town and all Chicago neighborhoods to bring clients together in these vibrant and diverse communities. Real estate has been a longtime passion of mine and I’m very excited to be working with buyers and sellers to make their deals a success.
I feel a unified effort from the neighborhood will make a positive difference in the quality of our lives. Sensitivity to intelligent development with respect to the rich architectural history of our neighborhood is priority. I am excited to be a member of the East Village Association.
Congratulatoins to Evanston for joining the growing list of Chicagoland communities that have adopted Complete Streets resolutions.
One of the exciting features of this resolution is that it takes a “complete and green network approach,” which means the Evanston Department of Public Works will consider both the environmental sustainability and the ease of public access in all future transportation construction projects.
Also, a great feature of the policy is that it covers any project within the city right-of-way, in a park or on an off-street trail, not just the roadway.
Residents on the city's environment board drafted the proposed the resolution. City staff spent time with the board and helped guide the resolution through from start to finish before the city council voted on it.
Active Trans provided support to the city during the process by sharing examples of other communities’ policies.
Is your community ripe for a Complete Streets policy? Active trans can help. Please contact Amanda Woodall firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Look here to find out if your community has a Complete Streets policy. To learn more, check out Active Trans' set of Complete Streets fact sheets (in the right column).
For more information about Evanston's policy, contact city's Sustainable Programs Coordinator Catherine Hurley, email@example.com, or the city's Director of Public Works Suzette Robinson, Publicworks@cityofevanston.org.
Chicago History Book Club
Please join us at the West Town Branch at 6:30pm Tuesday, March 4 as we discuss City of Scoundrels: The Twelve Days of Disaster That Gave Birth to Modern Chicago by Gary Krist.
The Chicago History Book Club explores the city’s history through reading and discussing books on events, themes, time periods and personalities that have contributed to making Chicago what it is today. If you cannot join us this time, please stop by the branch to pick-up our next book, The Division Street Princess: A Memoir by Elaine Soloway.Letter Writers Alliance: Fountain pen workshop
Get to know all the tips and tricks of fountain pens at 6:30pm Thursday, March 20 with our friends from the Letter Writers Alliance.
This workshop will walk you through the best type of pen for each writing style, tricks to refilling, good inks and taking care of your nib. Feel free to bring in your own fountain pen or try out our demonstration pens. All skill levels welcomed. This workshop is free but registration is required, so please call us at 312-743-0450 or drop by to sign up.
The second selection in our ongoing POV Documentary Series is High Tech, Low Life, which follows two of China's first citizen-reporters as they document the underside of the country’s rapid economic development. This film will be shown at the West Town Branch at 6pm on Tuesday, March 25.
Please join us throughout the year for these screenings which feature thoughtful, award-winning documentaries on a variety of topics and current events.POV films have won every major film and broadcasting award including 32 Emmys, 15 George Foster Peabody Awards, 11 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Broadcast Journalism Awards, three Academy Awards.
Every screening will take place on the last Tuesday of each month at 6pm, and will conclude with a brief discussion of the film and issues it raises.Adult book discussion
At 6:30pm Thursday, March 27, we will be discussing the award-winning work The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman. Plenty of copies are available for check out at West Town.
Submitted by Meghan Quinn
Forbidden Root, 1746 W. Chicago Ave.
Rather than lift the liquor moratorium in place, Forbidden Root is pursuing a change in city ordinance that would allow package and carryout sales of their beer as incidental to production onsite. The ordinance has already been introduced to city council and put into committee, so the process is underway – more info to come.
Neal McKnight has been working with FR’s attorney, Rolando Acosta, on the C-1 zoning and Plan of Operations. There is a preliminary Plan of Operations being circulated, and some issues such as truck loading still need to be detailed further. McKnight will continue to work with Acosta and present more information to the general membership at the March 3 EVA meeting.1822-50 W. Chicago Ave., Steve Fifield
In response to EVA’s inquiry into the possibility of a Commercial Park expansion, Fifield has stated that he will not sell the property. Ronda Locke will make a presentation to the Chicago Park District regarding the expansion idea. EVA is still within its agreed upon 90 day period to explore the feasibility of the plan.SSA Reconstitution/Expansion
EVA will post on the website regarding avenues to voice your opinions about the SSA Reconstitution and Expansion. Four public meetings have been held to discuss the issue, and there may be another presentation to the EVA membership. Possible dates are being discussed and will be publicized if it's scheduled. Any comments, questions, concerns, etc can be e-mailed to SSA Program Manager Kace Wakem at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call her at 312-850-9390.Fatpour PPA Request
There has been some discussion about this, but it hasn’t been presented yet. We will invite the Ukrainian Village Neighborhood Association to participate in the conversation.The Winchester, 1001 N. Winchester
The owners asked Neal McKnight for a letter to give to the liquor commissioner stating they presented to EVA in advance. McKnight approves of writing and sending the letter. Gladys Anselmo suggested the bylaws be checked in advance as it suggests a passive endorsement. Others in attendance did not agree that the letter is an endorsement; it is merely a statement of fact. McKnight will check bylaws and send letter if allowed.Neighborhood Zoning/Preservation
After a lot of discussion, encouraging preservation of existing stock seems to be a higher priority than focusing on encouraging single-family housing. EVA would like to explore raising the price of demolition, i.e. $50,000 for a demolition permit, to disincentivize people from tearing down structures built after a certain year. The building would also have to be structurally sound. This would be limited to Ward 1 and possibly 2. A proposal to encourage preservation and renovation of existing neighborhood structures will be written up and circulated for the membership to vote on.Officers & Board Membership
Neal McKnight has agreed to stay on another year as president. KK Goh has agreed to continue as treasurer. Peter Locke will step down from the vice president position, leaving it open. Meghan Quinn will remain on the board, but no longer as secretary, leaving the position open. Stephen Rynkiewicz will remain on newsletter and website, and will appoint an additional website person as we are changing and updating the website. Scott Rappe will take a hiatus from the board, but will stay on as Planning, Preservation & Development co-chair.
The slate of candidates for 2014-2015 is as follows:
- President - Neal McKnight
- Vice President - Dan Johnson
- Treasurer - KK Goh
- Secretary - Catherine Garypie
Many have requested an easier way to sign up for EVA. The question was raised if we can use anything in addition to PayPal. KK Goh will look into it. Please send any website update ideas to Stephen Rynkiewicz via eastvillagechicago.org. One suggestion was made to include more basic information about EVA on the website, i.e. What is EVA? What do they do? How do you get involved? Another suggestion was to create a bigger difference between the website and the facebook page, as there are a lot of overlapping comments and info on both.
Gladys Anselmo pointed to the Portage Park Neighborhood Association webpage as a good example to look at in terms of its organization and information. The suggestion was made that EVA make an effort to reach out to local businesses to become business members. A printed flyer could be a good way to reach out to people at local businesses and events.Next meeting:
The next general membership meeting will be held at 7pm Monday, March 3 at the Happy Village, 1059 N. Wolcott Ave.
Meeting commenced at 6:35pm, adjourned at 7:33pm at West Town Bakery & Diner, 1916 W. Chicago Ave. Attendance: board members Neal McKnight, KK Goh, Meghan Quinn, Gladys Anselmo, Stephen Rynkiewicz, Rob Schickel, Tom Tomek; other attendees include Rich Anselmo, Alisa Hauser, Michael VanDam.
It’s the kind of individuals who rallies for the entire neighborhood without an incentive but with a goal to improve the social and economic conditions of their community.
Pastor Jonathan Brooks (Englewood Hero)
The national media attention that Chicago’s Englewood community has received due to the influx of uncorrelated, misrepresented statics and poor news coverage would make anyone think it’s a “Nightmare on Elm Street”. Englewood residents understand the misconception about their community. These residents know the assets that outweight the reports seen in mainstream media. “Many kids don’t see guys going to work and being a family man in the community. They don’t see it as being normal when they see me with my family. Most times these kids are just looking for someone to talk to. If I just reach one kid then I’m happy," says Antoine Butler Englewood resident.
In order to feel valuable you must see the value according to Butler. Many of our political figures and public servants in city hall are very aware of the value Englewood as seen with the upcoming addition of Whole Foods, the newly improved CTA trains and even the new Ashland-BRT (bus rapid transit).
The neighborhood heroes of Englewood are those who never gave up on the community and never felt that dreams were illegal in the hood (they call home). Like many others and myself, I’m consciousness of the economic and social frailties that exist in Englewood but also understand the value of bringing a voice to the people who may otherwise not have the means to a platform.
The heroes are everyday African American men who work against the status quo, who easily do what is needed in Englewood by combating the naysayers with the everyday work they do and refusing to be defined by stereotypes. "It’s not about being recognized for doing good things in the community but doing what’s needed in the community," says Darryl Smith, president of the Englewood Task Force. He adds it's easier to do the wrong things in life than there is to follow a righteous path.
To their family the 14 men of Englewood are known as husbands, fathers, sons, uncles, brothers and cousins. In the community they wear the titles of entrepreneurs, pastors, DJ, radio personality, journalists, working professionals, community activists, community organizers, political candidate hopefuls, techies, students, barbers, artists and founding members of community driven organizations.
As a long term resident myself, I am easily able to identify the Englewood Heroes as Pastor Jonathan Brooks, Antoine “DJ Dap” Butler, Demond Drummer, Issachar Humphrey, Shango Johnson, John Paul Jones, Sunni Ali Powell, Harold Lee Rush, Darryl Smith, Syron Smith, John Stallworth, Johnny Stallworth and Michael Tidmore and Rev. Joel Washington.
These are the type of heroes who don’t disappear after the bad press, the tragedy, disappointment but continue on the unending love they have for the community. They’re loyal contributors to the community, who have a deep-rooted investment in the community and undying love to continue to do what they do effortlessly. "There's greatness in the community and I'm proud to be able to have a clean, well respected and established barbershop that houses 8 barbers who have the opportunity to become financially stable," says Sunni Ali Powell.
Pastor Jonathan Brooks is Senior Pastor at Canaan Community Church in West Englewood and has taught elementary education and arts in Chicago for over a decade. As a firm believer in investing in the community he grew up in, Jonathan has a deep desire to impress this virtue on the students and young people in his congregation, classroom and community. Notable Acts of Heroism: Canaan provides youth development, holistic health options, college scholarships, music lessons and continual support to families, living in Englewood, who have a loved one incarcerated.
Antoine Butler is not only a lifelong resident of Englewood but also is known as DJ Dap, the resident DJ of Englewood. He’s an entrepreneur, property owner, and co-founder of R.A.G.E. (Resident Association of Greater Englewood) where he focuses on youth, education, civic engagement and economic development. Noticeable acts of heroism: prior to his role with R.A.G.E., he was hosting other social youth empowering events like So Fresh Saturdays and Docs and Dialogue in Englewood with his wife. Docs and Dialogue presented documentaries or “shockumentaries” shown to the youth, which provoked open discussion free from the ears or scrutiny of adults.
Demond Drummer is often recognized by his role as the Englewood Tech Organizer at Teamwork Englewood, he’s also an Englewood resident and Co-Founder of R.A.G.E. Notable Acts of Heroism: Seeing the need for residents of all ages in Englewood to become knowledgeable and viable in the technology field. He’s taught classes on computer basics, internet basics and hosted weekly coding classes for students at D.S. Wentworth. He developed Englewood Codes, a 10-week summer technology program that teaches students about basic web coding. With the help of the community he successfully met his goal and fund-raised $10,000 to help fund a portion of the program in the summer of 2013.
Issachar Humphrey is the youngest of the heroes. He's a high school junior, Englewood resident, artist, volunteer and R.A.G.E. Intern. Noticeable acts of heroism: Actively involved in Englewood by volunteering with different organizations in the community. He is often seen at various community driven events lending his time and efforts, including attending just about every R.A.G.E. event where he's lending a hand.
Shango Johnson: Englewood Resident, community activist, community affair specialist / Interrupter for Cease Fire Englewood Violence Prevention Program in Chicago, director of mentoring programs, a community activist and a Sunday school teacher. Noticeable acts of heroism: Outside of his work with Cease Fire he’s active in the community and constantly at the forefront of issues that impact the Englewood community. Johnson has dedicated his life and career to community organizing for peace, social change and mentoring the youth.
John Paul Jones is a long time Englewood resident and urban organizer activist. Mr. Jones is president of the Sustainable Englewood Initiatives (SEI) a grassroots advocacy group working to ensure public engagement over land use decision-making, promotion of green and healthy initiatives, poverty reduction, support and creation of public safety framework plan, environmental protection and the improvement/expansion of recreation. Notable acts of heroism: For more than 25 years he’s spent time working on projects like organizing campaigns to modernize the CTA Red Line, rebuilding the 95th street station and the extension the CTA Red line from 95th to 130th Street and through its core team redline oversight and developed an environmental protection campaign due to Norfolk Southern rail road expansion.
Sunni Ali Powell is an entrepreneur, assistant director for DGA and IASTE, owner and master barber of Powell’s Barber Shop and resident of West Englewood. He's a mentor to many Englewood youth and is actively involved in the community by hosting annual community clean ups every April, provides free hair cuts during the back-to-school season. Notable acts of heroism: Employs 8 licensed barbers, utilizes his shop to host community meetings, job fairs, speaker series and was a part of the male mentoring group known as “From Boys To Men” at Woods Elementary for four years.
Harold Lee Rush is the golden voice you hear every Tuesdays and Fridays from 10am-2pm on WKKC 89.3 FMm and before that he’s been heard on several Chicago stations including WGCI 107.5 FM and WVON 1690 AM. He is not only radio a personality, he’s a Englewood native, a journalist and always disseminating key knowledge to the community via the airwaves and online through social media. Notable acts of heroism: Rush mentors high school students through through the WKKC-7th District Police Radio internship. His community service has been recognized and honored by many organizations including Outstanding Young Men of America (1983 and 1986), UNCF Distinguished Leader Award (1987), Malcolm X College (Honorary Degree 1984), and Chicago Board of Education.
John and Johnny Stallworth-father and son and owners of John Hardware and Bicycle Shop for more than 40 years in Englewood. They’re natives of Englewood who continue to provide reliable service and resources to the community. Notable acts of heroism: Remaining loyal to the Englewood community by sustaining a family owned business that educates their customers on basic home repair, construction, plumbing and other maintenance concerns.
Darryl Smith is a politically savvy individual who has been serving his Englewood community for several decades. He wears several hats in the community ranging from entrepreneur, community activist, president of the Englewood Political Task Force, 2006 and 2008 State Senate Representative, long time resident and a seasoned volunteer with the PEACE Center. Noticeable acts of heroism: According to Ballotpedia.org, in 2006 Darryl was 412 votes from becoming State Representative of the 6th district. According to Smith he's helped to secure some 850 jobs in the construction industry putting approximately $40 million dollars back in the Englewood community.
Syron Smith is an Englewood native whose roots in Englewood dates back several decades. Smith considers himself a public and human servant. He’s the founder of The National Block Club University and chairman of the Block of Better Government. Noticeable acts of heroism: Smith has spent the last 20 years working in different communities in Chicago to improve economical and social conditions. When he’s not working his 9-5, Smith spends his time mentoring teens by teaching them that education is one way to end the cycle of violence in the community and that education can lead to economic prosperity. He shares important information with the community that include reports on how much money is spent in each zip codes in various sales categories to the performance ratings of alderman in the community.
Mike Tidmore is best known for his role as the African-American Male Program coordinator at Teamwork Englewood for the past seven years. Tidmore is a volunteer at the PEACE Center, founding member of the Englewood Political Task Force, Englewood native, male mentor and writer. He’s spent years leading group workshops and program activities on issues of academic support, anti-gun violence, conflict resolution, restorative justice, college tours, community development and civil engagement. Noticeable acts of heroism: Mentoring hundreds of young men from schools in the community and keep everlasting relationship with his mentees.
Reverend Joel Washington (Khunanpu Sangoma) is an ordained minister originally from New York and currently resides in Englewood. Rev. Washington is a long time activist dating back to the Civil Rights movement, a movement in which he feels is still relevant today. Rev. Washington is a minister of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Lead Pastor of Reformation Evangelical Lutheran Church-“The Vanguard African Descent Ministries Congregation-” in the historic Roseland-Pullman community. Noticeable acts of heroism: Washington (Sangoma) is known in the community at Bethel Terrace, for his weekly African-Centered Bible Study Ministry, as the unofficial “pastor” of the distinctive African American elders housing co-op. Rev. Washington uses his ministries not to preach to his fellow residents instead urges them to become more vocal and proactive about the issues that impact their community.
There are hundreds of men in the Englewood who can be considered as Englewood Heroes, however I highlighted these men who I see consistently doing good deeds in the community. I see these 14 men as heroes who do not seek the spotlight but men whom the Englewood community need and could not do with out.
by Angela Glover Blackwell
President Obama’s announcement of My Brother’s Keeper yesterday was an unprecedented national acknowledgement of the obstacles preventing too many boys and young men of color from reaching their full potential. The action agenda put forth, which is being supported by some of the nation’s leading philanthropic institutions, provides assurance that help has arrived.
As the president stated, helping our boys and young men of color succeed is both morally right and an economic imperative for the nation. ”When, generation after generation, they lag behind, our economy suffers. So we need to change the statistics — not just for the sake of young men and boys, but for the sake of America’s future.”
By the end of this decade, the majority of children in the United States will be of color. We all have a stake in ensuring that these children, and all children, have a fair chance at creating strong futures for themselves and their communities. This is the essence of My Brother’s Keeper — improvements in the lives of the traditionally excluded will benefit the lives of all.
To bolster the federal effort, leading philanthropies and corporations have pledged to invest at least $350 million to find and spread best practices from around the country. This is smart and strategic. But we also know that to succeed we need more resources and energy from many more foundations, corporations, faith institutions, civic organizations, and government at all levels.
My Brother’s Keeper is building on the commitment of countless organizations and leaders across the nation working tirelessly to improve outcomes for boys and young men of color. Many of these efforts can be found on the websites of the California Alliance for Boys and Men of Color and the nationally-focused Institute for Black Male Achievement, or in the list below.
If you missed the announcement yesterday, we urge you to watch the video here. We also encourage you to visit My Brother’s Keeper to share your story of how you are working to improve life outcomes for young men of color.
We hope you will join us in applauding the president’s leadership.
There are a number of programs already working to advance the goals set forth by the White House Initiative. Since we like to lift up what works—and the White House is doing the same—here are a few of the projects around the country doing exemplary work to drive tangible results for young men of color.
Campaign for Citizenship
A campaign working with immigrant families to win citizenship for 11 million aspiring Americans who are our family members, friends and neighbors. Young immigrant men have high and growing numbers in our criminal justice systems. This campaign works to decrease criminalization and promote opportunity for immigrant boys and men and their families.
A national effort to reduce violence-related deaths amongst black men and boys. Cities United was launched in 2011 under the leadership of Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu to equip mayors with tools, best practices, and other resources to restore hope and opportunity to young black men who have been affected by violence.
Dignity In Schools Campaign
A national campaign that works with parents, youth, advocates and educators to support alternatives to a culture of zero-tolerance, punishment and removal in schools. With chapters across the country, the campaign has a host of efforts underway in districts throughout the country working to reform disciplinary practices that disproportionately impact young men of color.
Equal Justice Initiative
The Equal Justice Initiative is a private, nonprofit organization that provides legal representation to indigent defendants and prisoners who have been denied fair and just treatment in the legal system. EJI is a leading organization in the national fight to decrease youth from being tried as adults, a situation which disproportionately impacts too many boys and men of color.
Fathers Families and Healthy Communities
A national organization working to promote promising practices in the social service delivery to improve the opportunities and outcomes for children of non-custodial fathers. FFHC is a leading organization in the responsible fatherhood movement and serves as a catalyst and support to cities interested in launching fatherhood initiatives.
Lifelines to Healing
The PICO Lifelines to Healing Campaign organizes local communities to stop neighborhood violence and promotes state/federal policies that will end the mass incarceration of young men of color. Lifelines has a particular policy focus on restoring the rights of the formerly incarcerated.
National Employment Law Project
A project working to reduce unfair barriers to employment of people with criminal records. In partnership with All of Us or None, NELP has advanced ban the box policy campaigns in cities and states throughout the country. These efforts have significantly contributed to boys and men of color having a fair chance at employment.
The African American Male Achievement Department for the Oakland Unified School District
An Oakland-based initiative working to create exemplary practices, habits, and strategies to turn around and accelerate the achievement of African-American male students in Oakland.
NOLA FOR LIFE
A social movement of citizens taking responsibility to flip the script on New Orleans’ street violence and give youth a chance to thrive.
California Alliance for Boys and Men of Color Local Campaigns
These campaigns–in Fresno, Los Angeles, Oakland, and Stockton–serve as examples of successful youth-led community models that remove barriers and create opportunities for young men of color.
A community organization that works to interrupt the cycles of violence and poverty by motivating and empowering young people that have been impacted directly and indirectly by the criminal justice system to make positive changes in their lives and prepare them to become the community leaders of today.
A leader in the fight for health equity, CPEHN advocates for culturally and linguistically appropriate care to advancing social and environmental conditions that promote health for young men of color.
We would also be happy to speak from our experience managing projects that “help young men of color facing tough odds stay on track reach their full potential.” We have many in-house experts on the issue.
For media requests, please contact Naomi Abraham.
Ames Community Assembles at CPS Headquarters: We Demand Open, Transparent and Democratic Decision-making; Respect for the Students; and Keep Our School a Neighborhood School!
Surrounded by some of the supporters of Ames Middle School, Delia Bonilla tells the Board of Education that its decision to make Ames into a Military Academy was based on a number of lies. Bonilla told the Board that the actual Ames community will be voting in an advisory referendum on March 18, and that they expected that the future of Ames would win to keep the school as a middle school and to reject the Marine Military Academy which has been occupying Ames for the past few months. Bonilla and others from Ames also told the Board that Alderman Roberto Maldonado, who produced a number of fraudulent claims supposedly supporting the Marine incursion into Ames, does not represent the community. Two other aldermen and a Cook County Commissioner have now publicly stated that they oppose Maldonado's version of the future of Ames. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.
Those troublesome parents, students and neighborhood supporters of Ames Middle School (1921 N. Hamlin in Logan Square) — the “SAVE AMES COMMITTEE!” — showed up to again pressure the Chicago Board of Education to treat them respectfully, and not like a bunch of serfs, on February 26, 2014, both downstairs for a press conference and speaking out during the Board meeting. These people are fighting to keep Ames a neighborhood school, refusing to quietly allow the CPS mafia to make it a selective enrollment Marine military academy against their collective wishes.
Ames supporters—somewhere around 70 people—assembled to hold a 9:45 am press conference on the first floor of the CPS headquarters at 125 S. Clark Street on Wednesday, February 26. They later went upstairs to participate in the Board of Education’s meeting.
This time, they had the public support of Edwin Reyes, Cook County Commissioner of the 8th District. Reyes, who is running for re-election and who is a US Air Force veteran, spoke eloquently in support of the Ames community. He pointed out that this is being portrayed as just an issue for the 26th Ward of Alderman Roberto Maldonado when, in reality, it involves parents and students from the 1st and 35th Wards (Aldermen Proco Joe Moreno and Rey Colon, respectively), as well as the 26th; neither of the other two Aldermen were consulted on this issue.
Reyes noted that neighborhood supporters had gathered over 2400 signatures on petitions during the cold weather. This qualified to hold an advisory referendum for the eight precincts that surround Ames during the March 18th Primary, to let the community members decide whether or not they want Ames to remain a neighborhood school. (People have been going out every Saturday morning to talk with their neighbors about the issues.)
Another issue advanced by Reyes and others is that CPS is going to spend $7 million to make Ames a military school. This is for one of the most modern buildings in Logan Square. People brought up that there were other schools in the general area that were now empty, and that $7 million could be better spent rehabilitating these schools, and therefore the proposed Marine academy could go in one of them.
Community members again stressed how there has been no democratic process in deciding this issue. They have been fighting for over two years to keep their school. There has been no discussion for Alderman Maldonado, and he refuses to meet with community members.
Maldonado has been unwilling to meet with the press, either. This reporter has sought two separate interviews with Maldonado, but was refused even the courtesy of a response. Other reporters have ben ignored as well.
One of the best things about the campaign to keep Ames a neighborhood school has been the development of student leaders. A couple spoke this morning — their names I did not get — but they were clear, determined and quite eloquent. One of the students pointed out that the CPS “story” about Ames to students had changed: “They said originally that all students now at Ames and who wanted to stay at Ames could stay if they accepted the military program; now we been hearing from our friends at the ‘feeder’ schools that they are saying only 200 current students can stay, and that they have to compete for those seats.”
Yet parents are speaking out as well. One I heard was Christina Torres, a parent of a child at Funston Elementary. Torres has lived in Logan Square for 25 years. While Funston is a K-8 school, and one that does not feed into Ames, Torres was there, supporting the Ames community. When challenged by another reporter if she would send her kids to Ames, Torres didn’t hesitate: “if Funston only went to 6th grade, I would be glad to have my children attend Ames.”
Provided to reporters at the press conference were presented copies of printed statements, including from Delia Bonilla, Vice President of the Ames LSC (Local School Council). Ms. Bonilla’s statement—which was to be presented to the Board of Education afterwards—asked the Board to wait until the results of the March 18th referendum are in before moving forward: “… we all respectfully request that the Board take no action, and sign no contracts that would bind CPS to convert Ames to a military school, until after the March 18th results when voters will decisively declare their sentiments regarding the proposed school conversion.” She later asked in her statement, “Can you please give us at least 2 ½ weeks?”
The Save Ames Committee, as they formally call themselves, also presented three letters signed by local elected officials. Illinois State Senator William “Willie” Delgado of the 2nd District (which includes Logan Square), and chairperson of the Senate Education Committee, submitted a signed letter. Delgado had been present at a public LSC meeting a couple of months ago, eloquently stating his opposition to the conversion of Ames. He formally advanced his position in his letter.
Alderman Proco Joe Moreno (1st Ward) noted that at Ames, “ … the students and their parents are active and engaged.”
Noting that they are in close touch with others in the area, Moreno also noted that the attitudes of the community has been expressed by two different means: “through a private vote during the most recent report card pickup day (95%) and through petitions containing 2,400 signatures, which were collected door-to-door.”
Edwin Reyes noted in his letter, “This conversion [of Ames into a Marine academy-KS] was initiated by the 26th Ward Alderman and OK’d by the Mayor, but without any advanced consultation with parents, teachers, students or local residents.”
This reporter talked with Reyes for a few minutes after the press conference. Reyes took a strong position against what is happening at Ames: “Parents are here, at the forefront of the people, expressing their positions. This is a ‘tragedy’ against the will of the people.
Reyes pointed out that elected officials should lead, should advance the interests of their constituents. Clearly that was a slap at Maldonado.
When asked thought if this was really another example of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s leadership and attitude toward democracy, Reyes agreed. “Again,” he said, “there is this refusal to listen to the will of the people.”
[Kim Scipes is the chair of the Chicago Chapter of the National Writers Union, UAW #1981, and is a long-time resident of Logan Square].