Community Organizing

Far too often, we find it simpler to blame the system for things we're unsatisfied with: dirty streets, violence and crime, destabilized families, gang and drug activity, and poverty. But how often do we feel moved to engage with our community to be part of the change? Sometimes we all fail to realize that improvement is a two-way street; yes, local governments have a responsibility to its constituencies, but each and every one of us has the power to enact change ourselves, block-by-block. 

 

As a life-long public servant, I've served in many capacities to help improve the communities we live in. I do this not just for my own children, but for the children of the communities I represent, because all children deserve a safe place full of opportunity to call home. And through it all, I've come to realize that the single most impactful driver of change is an organized block.

Community organizing has been a principle of healthy, prospering communities, and it doesn't have to start top-down. Organized block clubs in our community have been able to enact significant changes in their area, and it all starts with a small group of neighbors. I encourage all of you to organize your blocks and to meet regularly to discuss the things that need improvement on your block. Oftentimes, issues on a block can be addressed locally through more efficient communication. By working together to identify the key players on the block and the problem tenants, we can work with building owners and property managers to remove problem tenants from the building. Even if it means going as far as Washington DC to get results. 

We can also roll up our sleeves and partner to clean up the trash off our block and vacant lots in the area. Most importantly, organized blocks have an enhanced method of communication to share information about events and resources that can help address various issues. Many times residents may feel helpless in their issues, despite the availability of many resources and free aid to help. Sometime we just need someone to share information. Sometimes we just need someone to share information, and organized block clubs are experts at information-sharing. Organizing may mean several blocks coming together as one. One thing is for certain: there is power in numbers. The Alderman's Office and the Chicago Police Departments' CAPS offices will continue to work will block clubs and neighbors to help move their goals forward.

Posted on March 23, 2015 .