This is a space that I feel is more of an open dumping ground that I can free my thoughts and let loose although millions (yet right) can read this! I guess I decided to be a open book in some aspects...At least when it come to my neighborhood and community activities! And yes I proudly say my neighborhood, because I was deliberate in my intentions when I said I want to created an sense of neighborhood in Englewood that would revealed the intelligent, funny, creative, determined individuals who also has a different vision on what Greater Englewood can become...A few years I was exploring the community, meeting people and building relationships. I was confident that it was some folks in Greater Englewood with similar perspectives, who are dedicated to building community, case in point RAGE.
Now, what I didn't prepare for was all the dynamic projects and opportunities that will come from building community...Everyone has a passion, a mission if you will that is all tied into one single and simple concept, building community. I don't want to deter my 55+ blog followers (yeah right, like they follow me) but I think I am seeing a shift in the age range of community leaders...We are in our 20's, 30's and 40's and a bit aggressive when we are passionate about an important cause...You must remember this is a generation who grew up on MTV, Hip Hop, Reality Shows, etc....So yes our approach is a little in your face!
So to my generation and younger, RAGE is just a cool name while our older generation may see it as too much or too bold...Oh well, I was raised on Hip Hop...That's my excuse!! We are a bold, edgy, direct, smart, dedicated, professional generation and we move a little differently from our elders before us.
I say this because I am seeing a generational gap when it comes to many of our community leaders and seeing why some things are moving at a certain pace...The upside to the concept is that Gen Y, X, Z are now stepping up to table and ready to work for change! We have the "Occupy the Hood" movement growing, and I am noticing more movements developing throughout many of our communities not just Englewood...
Now of course Englewood is my foundation so I want to build here then branch into other communities and build with other young, vibrant community leaders...We probably have a much greater challenge in re-branding Greater Englewood and honestly I may not see huge changes in my lifetime, but I am determined that my grandchildren will! They will be the ones who will organize and get a street or school name after me...So I am in this fight for the long haul...and why not? I was raised here, live here now and see how my passion for RE-BRANDING Englewood can be utilized to the fullest potential!
This past month, has been busier than most, conference calls almost daily and even Sundays are not off limits! But they are all for the greater good of the community...Its either related to Education, Economic Development, Civic Empowerment, cultural activities with the youth and so on...Then on top of that new issues popping up through Englewood, like I wrote about on my previous post...The Norfolk Rail yard expansion which is basically a project that will be turning a pocket of Englewood to a complete DEAD ZONE! Now some may argue, Englewood is already a dead zone, but I beg to differ....It is very LIVELY and there is never a dull moment in this neighborhood!! Even if there may be a pocket that will be just a freight yard there are still residents living and breathing the life of Englewood everyday...Folks who are the products of Englewood, are strong, fiesty and refused to be pushed over!! Check out this design that my husband created for t-shirts, hoodies, etc.!! Only the STRONG survive and that's real!!
Here are two videos about the Norfolk expansion I did with Marc Sims explaining more about the project:
Anyway as you can see things are happening and happening rather quickly, Englewood residents was recently given a survey about the use of the post office and how the two post offices in Englewood may be close for any retail activity....There was a "public meeting" about 75-100 attendees that listen to the staff of the Post Office explain to us that the revenue is down due to the advancement of technology...Ok I get that, but there is a only about 40% of the individuals who live here has access to the Internet...The seniors use many of the services at the post offices and they are not handling their business online like my generation, so of course that was some garbage...
Then we hear from the City of Chicago that our libraries may closed and staff/hours will be reduced...Oh yeah let's not forget that the recent guidelines from CPS was just release which means we may also have some schools closing soon....Come on now?!?
|Kelly Library Courtesy of Chicago Public Library|
One a positive note, there are some exciting things happening like the Green Healthy Land Use initiative with CMAP and the city...Stay tuned for more info regarding this!
Don't get me wrong the community has RAGE, but because there is so MUCH happening these issues demand an alliance or coalition to handle them more efficiently...If folks can't put down their egos and work together to strategically address these issues, we will never achieve CHANGE...You can Occupy the Hood, the southside or wherever else but you must join forces with others to tackle many of these things...
RAGE is definitely an action oriented group but we are also professionals who have day jobs...So we can't handle EVERYTHING...It is definitely enough population left in Greater Englewood to build a strong and mighty alliance...But where do we start when everyone wants to be the leader...Do we create a super team of community leaders! Folks with true intentions, humble enough to take direction, and able to lead as an expert in their own field of expertise...
Like one of my close team mates said to me the another day...True leaders are not measure by how many followers they have, they are measure by how many leaders that can create...I love that because that is all I every wanted....I didn't want to be the token resident leader who is pulled in 50,000 different directions...I wanted to identify other leaders to recruit and handle this load.
Thankfully I am seeing this happen with RAGE...Residents are able to identify their expertise and lead in that capacity...That is the way we can build community by having everyone contributing their expertise to one common goal...So if speaking publicly is your thing, DO THAT, if research is your passion DO THAT, if organizing is your expertise then DO THAT!!
That way no one is burned out and everyone is doing what they do best! So with that said I will continue doing what I do best and build with others especially these aggressive Gen X,Y, and Z revolutionaries that way I will have my very own personal SUPER TEAM!! Stay tuned for more GREATNESS coming from GREATER ENGLEWOOD, until next time, as always TAKE ACTION to CREATE the life you truly desire!! Peace Aysha~