Monday, January 31, 2011

Smiling in the face of CHANGE!!

First off my energy have been at such high frequencies it’s been difficult to unwind/reflect to write a new blog entry, but I was determine to get one done before this fabulous month ended!! As mentioned in my previous post, 2011 is off to a great start so taking time to reflect is essential!

One thing for sure, I am utterly amazed by this driving force that gives me the strength to handle multiple projects that are directed towards a common goal…That common goal is Shifting Perceptions & Changing Stereotypes of the Greater Englewood neighborhood and the people who live there!!

As I continue on this path as a agent of CHANGE, I am noticing that folks get very uneasy about CHANGE even if it’s toward a positive direction! Crazy right?? Now, let me address a few things that are happening…In less than 2 months the energy and enthusiasm of RAGE (Resident Association of Greater Englewood) has been so electrifying that folks are feeling a little uncomfortable about our BOLD approach…Get out of your COMFORT ZONE & LIVE A LITTLE!!

Since I have been doing this work in Englewood, I have search for an organized group of residents speaking up about the condition of our community…I have yet to find that group, and maybe it is like this for a reason...Yes, there are few resident groups out here in the neighborhood but none with a such a POWERFUL FORCE like RAGE!!

RAGE hit the ground running with ACTION-ORIENTED individuals steering this effort and we will continue on this path…Of course we are already getting some push back from the community.  Folks trying to personally attack members, diss the name or the past summits we recently hosted...Why? Because this is a CHANGE that folks are not willing to accept.

Now, there are even a few folks focused on our name instead of the real work that need to be done! I heard the other day that someone said that the name RAGE reflects a violent undertone...Wow, professionals working together for the betterment of the community suggest violence??  For those who don't know, RAGE also means the latest craze or trend and it means a burning desire; a passion. So actually the name is perfect for us!!

As you see from my previous post, I believe we need SUPER POWERS to do this work because the energy of others can be straight kryptonite!! I am glad to say that the members of RAGE are DYNAMIC individuals with GREAT superpowers which make for a SUPER TEAM!!  Our passion to improve and change the perception of our neighborhood is way too GREAT to steer us away from our path…

Crowd shot of Part 2 of the Who's Running Summit 15th & 16th Ward

We have already hosted 2 successful sessions of the Who’s Running Summit which covered wards 3,6,20 then 15 & 16…Now we are on to the final summit for the 17th Ward…Did you think we were playing???

Demond & Antoine of RAGE
What we have found to be the most amazing part of hosting these candidate forums is the overwhelming appreciation of the residents…This is the bextfeeling for the members of RAGE and once all this election stuff is over, our real work will begin!

RAGE Disclaimer:

On behalf of RAGE we apologize for our aggressive & progessive movements...But we are sooooo tired of folks meeting, and talking then meeting so more without ACTION!! We will continue to be aggressive so if you can't handle it, I suggest you step aside because we are moving steadfast...

Now, if you are a resident who is really SERIOUS about making a positive impact on your community JOIN RAGE today!! You can email us at for more info...

If you want to follow us on Facebook, please link here

Attn: Greater Englewood residents of the 17th Ward!

The final session of the Who's Running-Part 3 - 17th Ward , Saturday, Feb. 12th at Englewood Mennonite Church, 832 W. 68th St...Come out and be heard, because you represent the largest ward of the neighborhood. Text RAGE to 59769 for more info!

RAGE Part 2 -Who's Running Summit 15th & 16th Ward
Ok, enough about RAGE, my commitment to our future leaders is just as important and extremely rewarding! These initiatives actually keeps me balanced because honestly, sometimes adults can just be so....Well you know...Anyway working with the students in Media-n-Motion, who serves as our very own Englewood youth reporters, will be telling the feel GOOD stories about the our neighborhood too.  Yes another catalyst for positive CHANGE!!
Last week these students interviewed Englewood native/rap artist Pugs Atom and DJ Kevin Maxey!  These students asked great questions, listened attentively and was very appreciative for this opportunity....I am truly surrounded by so much GREATNESS its sometimes hard to wrap my mind around it!!

Again this program was created, designed and implemented by residents of Greater Englewood, we met for the first time in October and by January we piloted this free youth media program...LOVE IT!!!
Media-N-Motion Students with Pugz Atom & DJ Kmax
In other youth news....Docs & Dialogue just wrapped up our 1st session for 2011, at Orr High School!  Yes we took this grassroot project to the west side and they embraced it too!! I thought I was going to cry when I say the buses appear...Children bused all the way to the West Side for Docs & Dialogue left me speechless!

Docs & Dialogue at Orr High School
Now everyone have their own definition of success and for me this was an example of what I define as SUCCESS!! I am humbly amazed by the impact this resident driven project has had on our young people and flattered to hear schools requesting their very own "Docs & Dialogue" session...Stay tuned for big things happening with D&D...

Saturday, February, 26th,
Docs & Dialogue: Black History Month Edition at KKC

Well I think that's all I will report for now, stay tuned for more exciting news, tomorrow is Black History Month so onward to February & as always TAKE ACTION to CREATE the life you truly desire!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Media-N-Motion & RAGE off to a GREAT start for 2011!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!  I am excited to say this year is off to a GRAND start!! So far, during this New Year and New Decade, I am proud to say that I have identified many others around me that are truly focused on the interest of our youth in the Greater Englewood Neighborhood.  As you know, my hands are in a lot of things throughout the community because I am hopeful that eventually there will be a perceptual shift of how folks view Englewood…

Tonika "Toni" Johnson at Media-N-Motion

Case in point, back in October I met two phenomenal residents (Tonika "Toni" Johnson & LaTesha Dickerson) that were interested in partnering to create a youth media program. After a few meetings, (2 to be exact), we developed a program, secure a space and launched Media-N-Motion on January 5th.  Check out this snippet from the session:

This is a free 8-week program for youth 12-17, who will serve as our new Englewood Youth Reporters. These children will tell stories that don't make the news & shed light on the positive stories in our neighborhood, similar to what I do with this blog but more! Our first session was really magical and what truly is amazing about this program is that it was completely developed by residents of Greater Englewood…Who says Englewood is not filled with GREATNESS!!  Stay tuned to be inspired by the progress of this fantastic program.

Tonika "Toni" Johnson with Media-N-Motion Students

Media-N-Motion Students Checking out the Englewood Portal

Another example, of how these perceptions will be shifted is demonstrated in R.A.G.E. which is the newly formed Resident Association of Greater Englewood.  This group is already up & running strong!

We have only had about 1-2 meetings and we are already planning to host 3 summits that will focus on the aldermanic candidates of all six wards in Greater Englewood….The residents in R.A.G.E. are action oriented and didn’t waste any time taking on the tasks!!

I knew these resident leaders existed in my neighborhood but many of us was so occupied with community meetings or sitting on councils/committees that led to NO ACTION...After supporting the vision/mission of so many agencies us residents never took the time to develop our own mission…Well, our time has come!  R.A.G.E is a powerful force to reckon with and will be the catalyst to help shift the perception of Greater Englewood!!

Our upcoming “Who’s Running Summit” is coming along nicely! The majority of the candidates of the 3rd, 6th, and 20th wards have confirmed attendance and now we are working on the Part II & Part III…After the summits we will develop other info sessions about TIF, redistricting and educational issues...Its time for a real CHANGE, so later for all these meetings that do not end with action items....ITS WAY TOO MUCH WORK TO BE DONE...WE NEED AN ACTION PLAN FOR OUR NEIGHBORHOOD & RAGE WILL DEVELOP IT!!

So if you are resident of Greater Englewood or know a resident who is interested in joining RAGE please email us at for a membership application.

Lastly, Docs & Dialogue ended in 2010 celebrating Kwanzaa at Thurgood Marshall Library!  Our first session for 2011 will be January 29th, at Orr High School on the West Side in partnership with Charlene Davis of  Wisdom Lives Here showcasing the must see film a War for your Soul! The So Fresh Saturday Team is really looking forward to bringing this grassroot project from Englewood to the West Side!!

Docs & Dialogue Kwanzaa Edition
I already know 2011 is gonna be a year filled with RAGE, EXCITEMENT & JOY!!! I am seeing first hand that I am able to TAKE ACTION to CREATE the life I truly desire...So, until next time, I hope you also TAKE ACTION to CREATE the life you truly desire, life is so much more fun when you live it that way...Again, Happy New Year!!

Who's Running Summit
Part 1- Wards 3,6, & 20
January 15th
6400 S. Stewart
Part II - Wards 15 &16
January 27th
7th District
1438 W. 63rd St.

Part III-17 Ward
February 12th
Englewood Mennonite Church
832 W. 68th Street