Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Good Day in Englewood!!!

I wanted to title this blog after a horrible story that ran in the Chicago Sun-Times on Sunday, September 23rd.  


An Example of a Good Day In Englewood!
The title read "Ride-Along: No Murders, One Shooting Makes It A ‘Good Day' In Englewood" and was accompanied with a horrific picture of a victim of domestic violence....(See snapshot below) Really Sun-Times?  Is that the best photo you can find for a Good Day in Englewood??? As we are working diligently to rebrand Englewood, highlight positive stories in order to promote pride, we get a horrible article like this plastered on the front page...There has been tons of Good Days in Englewood that didn't have one reporter onsite to capture it....


For instance the 3rd Annual Englewood Arts Festival hosted by the Englewood Community Cultural Planning Council took place at Hamilton Park on September 22nd where so many young hopefuls had the opportunity to experience peace, art, music, dance, and much more right in the heart of Englewood....This is what I consider a Good Day in Englewood!!

3rd Annual Englewood Arts Festival
Another Good Day in Englewood - Englewood Votes!
6th Ward Ald. Sawyer with myself Aysha Butler at Englewood Votes Event
There is an exciting new Englewood Votes! campaign which is a non partisan effort to educate the community and change the perception that the Englewood community does not vote and thereby does not count. Several organizations are working collectively to lead a political awareness campaign that seeks to register up to 5,000 new voters from Greater Englewood. Outside of registering individuals we want to stress the importance of voting in every single election, as well as the need for more community involvement from neighbors and former residents by volunteering their time, skills and resources to the neighborhood. 

Englewood Votes recently hosted a voter's registration drive in collaboration with the 6th Ward Democratic Organization and Ald./Committeeman Roderick Sawyer. The event took place at WBEZ and was quite the success!! Over 50 people were registered and the Englewood Votes street team were determined to get these folks off the blocks, barber shops, and local taverns to get them registered!! What a fun day for RAGE and all the other organizations involved.  Check out a few pics from what I consider is another example of a Good Day in Englewood!!




Will Helping Hands of Englewood Really Help Englewood??
Ok moving on to a few more other things happening around Englewood...Let's start with Helping Hands of Englewood. So the mayor's office along with a few pastors and social service agencies in the community have a new strategy to combat violence...This effort is being led by Bishop Dukes of Liberation Christian Center and about 3 other faith based institutions in Englewood...

Bishop Dukes Photo Courtesy of Chicago Sun-Times
I attended a few meetings and can I be honest?? I am not sure where this "train" is headed...I know the goals are to stabilize the community and target the folks who are stirring up trouble but I am unable to grasp any concrete plans, timeline, objectives or measurements.  I definitely want the members of R.A.G.E. to keep a close watch on this initiative in order to truly hold our faith based institutions, social service agencies and especially our mayor accountable.  Then there is another cook county/City of Chicago collaboration coined as C.A.R.E., (Community Anti-Violence & Restoration Effort) who is hosting "town hall" meetings in various communities to again address the violence....I am sure you may have heard about these forums happening around town lately...Again, another effort that stakeholders need to be engaged in to see if these county & city efforts will truly have an impact if there is a true collaboration with community...We shall see...

Mayor Rahm Emanuel Photo Courtesy of Tonika Johnson

Rahm Moving to Englewood? Yeah Right!!
Speaking of the city & our mayor Rahm, there was a recent article in the reader where it was proposed that Rahm moving to Englewood...Now, we all know that will not happen in any of our lifetimes but what I thought was interesting was Rahm's statement about Englewood residents, which read "I lifted myself up from affluence to greater affluence, so I think Englewood residents can lift themselves up." This statement is such a slap in the face to Englewood residents because we all know many of the folks in our neighborhoods are not living affluently, actually they are living quite the opposite. 

I wish Rahm would move to Englewood, so he could get a reality check and see firsthand how the city's resources are truly allocated to the point that they become scarce on the southside once you travel pass 35th Street...I work on Michigan Ave. so I see an abundance of resources on the Mag Mile....Then I travel to my home and its like a deserted island...It really doesn't make sense.  Now the purpose of this article was really to shed light on the segregation in Chicago, but what is really segregated is the amount of effort and resources that are allocated to certain neighborhoods...We are definitely in the "colored" folks zone being in Englewood and I dare the mayor to live here for a day...Now I don't know if I would consider that a Good Day in Englewood or not...So let's move on because I don't want to speak on this topic any longer! The mere idea of this satire is pretty disgusting...

Englewood Says No to Norfolk Southern!
You heard me talk about it before but yes Norfolk Southern railroad is still a pain here in Englewood. Norfolk Southern recently proposed to the city to buy 104 city owned vacant lots and has been quietly purchasing land in Englewood the past 3 years. Their actions were never disclosed to the community until September 2011...Norfolk Southern aggressive tactics to grab this land for cheap is a slap in the face to the residents of Englewood! RAGE and the Englewood Railway Coalition are at the forefront of this land grab and will keep you posted. There are some other groups working towards a community benefit agreement with this billion dollar company but I wouldn't hold my breathe on waiting for Norfolk to contribute anything back to Englewood after they confiscate over 84 acres of our land...If it does happen, that would be another example of a GOOD DAY IN ENGLEWOOD...But until then we say NO to Norfolk and any other outside group taking advantage of our neighborhood for their own private interest and benefit....Keep a close watch of these developments...This is far from over...

Public Notice from Norfolk Southern to purchase 110 city owned lots
Even with the challenges we face here, there are still many great examples of Good Days in Englewood and the it does not depend on if someone was shot or killed in the neighborhood as the Sun-Times pointed out...Its much more than that....It's the visit to the one of the top performing high schools in the city to talk about how students are working to give back to Englewood, its the RAGE village meetings where stakeholders of all walks of life are able to discuss community issues and solutions, its the Greater Englewood Garden Association potlucks and tours, its the health fairs, the plays, the film festivals and so much more...

Check out this video from the residents of 66th & Sangamon....

R.A.G.E. at Lindblom - A Good Day in Englewood

For example the Greater Englewood CDC alongside RAGE is working around the clock on REBRANDING strategies for Englewood and even recently was in a contest to not only make residents aware of our efforts but also our neighboring communities that are often blindsided by the negative reports about Englewood.

Click the link to learn more about our idea that was submitted:

The deadline for folks to vote was Oct. 11th and we ended up being in 7th place. However, the fact that we remain in the top ten ranking out of 100 ideas that were submitted was a victory within itself! Sounds like another Good Day in Englewood to me!!

We are still working on developing signage, billboards, tours, and proudly wearing our "I AM ENGLEWOOD" wristbands! So regardless of what is reported please know that there is a strong movement to change this perception and we are very excited to celebrate more Good Days in Englewood! If you want to learn more about the community wide campaign of Invest In Englewood where we hope to REBRAND. REBUILD. REVITALIZE Englewood link here for details and get involved!

Here are a few more events that will be GREAT examples of Good Days in Englewood:

  • Rebranding Englewood Meeting hosted by the Greater Englewood CDC on Oct. 13th
  • The Year End Celebration of the Englewood Neighborhood Recovery Initiative Event Oct. 19th
  • The Englewood Film Festival scheduled for Oct. 25th-Oct.28th -- Check out this promo video featuring fellow R.A.G.E. member Rashanah Baldwin

  • Make a Difference Day hosted by Imagine Englewood If on Saturday, Oct. 27th
You can always find many of these positive stories and events posted on the Englewood Portal! Check them out today and also post your positive stories and events from Englewood!

Students of Wentworth Elementary participating in Clean Up Day

As I close this entry out, I just want to say to all my readers to keep watch of real Good Days in Englewood and don't believe that only horrible things happen in my neighborhood...This is so untrue...

If you follow this blog, check the RAGE website, or the Englewood Portal you will be amazed of all the Good that happens here...We just have to do our own reporting which R.A.G.E. and others are committed to do....(Side note check out our first issue of the The Englewood Call a publication produced by R.A.G.E.)

R.A.G.E. Members at Kusanya Cafe on Clean Up Day
So if you love Englewood the way me and so many others love Englewood...Start to TAKE ACTION to CREATE the neighborhood you truly desire because it would take the work of residents, business owners and other key stakeholders to truly transform our community...


Until next time, stay PEACEFUL!!



  1. this was a very good post. thanks for sharing all the great things that happen in englewood!

  2. Aysha!

    Thank you for doing this blog, and I commend you on your efforts to improve the image of the Englewood community. Kudos!

    However -- it will add to the validity of your site if you really endeavor to use correct grammar. In your introduction, you might want to make some corrections. E.g. you say "am determine to promote..." I think you mean "determined". Also, you say "My goals is also to connect resources and develop program/events..." It would be better to say, "My goals are to connect resources and develop programs/events..."

    I wish you great success with this project!

  3. Thank you for the feedback and those encouraging words!

  4. Aysha,

    I'm continually impressed by the work you do for Englewood and rely on the portal, RAGE site, and your blog to get me caught up on community happenings.

    One note: I followed your link to the Reader blog post on "Rahm moving to Englewood." The author of that post admitted in the comments that the piece was satirical and that Rahm didn't actually say that quote. You were not alone in interpreting that post as hard news; a number of other commenters shared your reaction.

    Keep posting and, more importantly, giving voice to the residents of Englewood. I've seen nothing but good days since I've started working daily in West Englewood this fall.

    Take care,