Sunday, October 31, 2010

Goodbye October & Hello November!!

Wow, it is truly amazing, how time flies by when you are doing the things you love!! I see firsthand how our passions will always draw us to the BEST way we can serve and I absolutely love serving my community!! Either by connecting resources to the community, connecting people with one another or providing more meaningful experiences for our youth and residents. These efforts are very well appreciated which makes is oh so easy for me to continue to connect the dots...

Docs & Dialogue Oct. 9th at West Englewood Library

As mentioned in my previous post, we hosted Docs & Dialogue at West Englewood Library on Oct. 9th.  This was a special one because this was designed for the youth only (due to limited space) and I must say this setting was oh so rewarding!
Docs & Dialogue Oct. 9th at West Englewood Library

Listening to the voices of our young people expressing their thoughts, desires, and goals was just heartfelt! We truly underestimate the intelligence of our future leaders. These children were bright, articulate and engaged in a meaningful discussion about our community & history.  They really enjoyed the program, so I will be back on Wed. Nov. 3rd and Sat. Nov. 13th, thanks to the Lindsay Coleman, fellow resident and librarian of West Englewood. 

M.U.G.A.B.E.E. & Ay-sha at the Perry Mansion Welcome Reception
During the week of Oct. 11, I had the opportunity to work closely with Columbia College and the Englewood Community Cultural Planning Council (ECCPC or EC3 for short) who welcomed musical group M.U.G.A.B.E.E. to Englewood. My tasks were the following: 1)Find a local band to perform with the group.  2) Help promote a welcome reception and the FREE community performance. 3)Book the group at 1-2 schools in Englewood for a workshop....Not too difficult right??  Well with working a full time job, being a wife and mother, community activist, I had to juggle some things around.  

My first point of contact was Robeson High School since I have served as a mentor, is currently a community rep member of LSC and seem to have a good relationship with many of the staff and teachers....

M.U.G.A.B.E.E. at Nicholson Elementary School in Englewood

Unfortunately that wasn't enough to get this educational workshop booked, so I needed to press on. I reached out to Guggenheim who was ecstatic about the opportunity as well as Nicholson. Both of the these schools have very stern but open principals doing all they can for these schools, and it showed as they welcome this group with open arms. 

Again connecting resources to my community brings so much joy! I was so pleased to hear and see for myself the appreciation of the students while they enjoyed the performance of this unique & powerful group. 

I too enjoyed the performance at Columbia College (photo above) and was blown away by the talent these two brothers shared with us.  And to hear them play with a band I've seen & admired, All Chocolate was just phenomenal!! They ended there stay here with a final finale at Hamilton Park Cultural Center that I attended in spirit and heard that it too was a great success!!  I like to extend a special thanks to Paul Teruel of Columbia College Community for Arts Partnership for bring me in the fold, it was a GREAT experience! Stay tuned for more cultural activities & programs in the near future from the Council...

In the midst of all this action packed month, I was planning Docs & Dialogue/Spooktacular Halloween Bash for Sat. Oct 30th. I partnered with Safety Net Works and the 7th district CAPS team to help pull this altogether.  Meanwhile, I was also off to Orlando for a few days for a conference at my "real job"..... Now you know I had to make time to play while I was there and I did exactly that!! I relaxed with the family, enjoyed the amusement parks, and just clear my mind on my mini vacation so I could come back in full swing!!

As you can see from the photos, the Halloween Bash was extremely successful and was packed with over 100 kids who were very pleased!! We showed a film, played XBOX 360, dance, & did much more all in the community room at the 7th District...The children love it and the adults present did too!!

Officer Angela Wormley& myself
Surprisingly enough, even the teens who came through was entertained....It was a fun time and could not be possible without the help of Jimi Orange of Safety Net Work, Officer Angela Wormley & Rafael Yanez, it was a great collaboration that we hope to do more of in the near future!!  We are all working together to assure our youth were safe on Halloween and through this bash we achieved our goal!! It was another SO FRESH SATURDAY!!Well, I think that's all for now...I guess I can officially say Goodbye October, you were absolutely fantastic, however, I must now move on to November....Until next time, TAKE ACTION to Create the life you truly desire!!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Shift is NEAR...Are you Ready???

As always the days have been vibrant since the last time I posted. I have attended some exciting meeting, events, fundraisers and connected with more people who are definitely on my same wavelength...So much so its been difficult to stop, write and reflect on many of these experiences.  When I do have time to contemplate, I am reminded that these are simply steps towards a powerful movement, that will ultimately SHIFT the perception of our misrepresented community.....The SHIFT is NEAR....Are you Ready??

A few highlights these past few weeks was my monthly alderman's meeting for the 6th Ward.  Usually there are at least 50-75 attendees and I must say at these ward meetings there is LOTS of useful information shared that residents should be aware of...For example, a rep spoke about the TIF 67th & Wentworth area that outlines many areas in Englewood and other neighboring communities. I am particular concern about the old KKC site...As a resident I would to have a grocery store like a Whole Foods or even Trader Joes...

Ok now I may be pushing it but still can't I dream of what I would like to see developed at this site? I know for certain if residents are not organized to take part in the decision making process, our voices will never be heard and we will just have to deal with whatever comes our way....Right?? WRONG!!! At that meeting, I met a few veteran organizers looking to join forces and strategically plan in order to SPEAK UP for our community! The SHIFT is NEAR....Are you Ready??

This ties right into another highlight, the collaborative forum workshop led by Ray Thompson. This was with a small group of residents who are basically "Human Assets" of the community who are all committed to improving the quality of life in Englewood. The ABCD (Asset Based Community Development) model focuses on the assets throughout the community in order to SHIFT the perception of Englewood from always being view as "needy" to  when there are may folks who are actually "advantaged". 

If we continue to collaborate, identify and utilize these assets all around us like the libraries, parks, residents, etc., I am certain a SHIFT will occur! To learn more about this perpetual shift please link here.

Like I mentioned in my last post, its time for the residents to stand up and take back our community from these foreign invaders...i.e., other ethnic groups, agencies, churches, politicians, etc...With a population of over 50,000 residents we are technically a city within itself...Just imagine if 5% of this population join forces...Wow, what a POWERFUL SHIFT that would be....Are you Ready??

Onward to another topic....We just finished up another enjoyable Docs & Dialogue session on Oct. 2nd and I definitely see this project as another powerful tool that brings all the community assets together in one room.  Although many enjoy watching the film then  talking about it....however, I am now noticing many of the attendees are ready to take this dialogue a step farther!  THEY ARE READY TO TAKE ACTION!! I can definitely see solution based organizing being a follow-up to a Docs & Dialogue session! Stay tuned...

I must say I wish it was more events  in Englewood that bridge generational and social economic gaps! Listening to the experiences of our elders while looking at issues from the eyes of our youth is exactly what we need to make a major SHIFT!  I so appreciate all who support this project and contribute to the powerful dialogue and networking that occurs at each session!   

For a detailed recap of Docs & Dialogue please link here.  Also, if you are ready to make a SHIFT to become more civically engaged in the community feel free to email me at There is a always a need to share our gifts to enhance the state of our community....

Well this upcoming week is packed with networking events, meetings and more! To quickly recap here are few events open to the public and community leaders:

Oct. 9th-Docs & Dialogue West Englewood Library-Youth Only (Space is Limited)

Oct. 12th-Networking reception at Perry Mansion Cultural Center - 7042 S. Perry-RSVP Required

Oct. 13th-ABCD Collaboration Forum at Safety Network 5958 S. Marshfield

Oct. 22nd-Live Performance MUGABEE feat. band All Chocolate at Hamilton Park 513 W. 72nd.

Oct. 30th-So Fresh Saturday Halloween Edition -Location TBA

I am sure there are more events happening that I may have missed, don't be alarmed, Englewood now has its own resident based website here:

Do you have some GOOD news to share?? Want your business listed in the directory? Or are you hosting a community event? Sign up and post that info here>>>>>

Believe it or not some of us are technically savvy too!

I think that's it for now...Just remember despite the news coverage we received the are OPPORTUNITIES & GREATNESS here. Please recognize that the SHIFT is NEAR...Are you ready? I hope so, because I know I AM!!

Until next time, TAKE ACTION to CREATE the life you truly desire!!!

Asiaha (Ay-sha) Butler