A community thrives when a variety of individuals and organizations work to make it a better place. Meet some of the people who have helped to transform the community from the inside out.
Community leaders are working hard to foster investment and stability in Humboldt Park, cementing and celebrating the neighborhood’s Puerto Rican identity in a way that welcomes visitors and newcomers but also helps long-time, local residents stay and benefit from the increasingly prosperous environment.
To many outsiders, Englewood is a symbol of Chicago gun violence and disinvestment. Lifelong resident Asiaha Butler, founder of R.A.G.E., has made it her mission to highlight and nurture the positive aspects of her community. In the process, she’s created a wealth of new opportunities and a blueprint for community-led development.
The City is moving forward with plans to transform the abandoned BNSF railroad into a multi-use “rails-to-trails” path from Pilsen to South Lawndale. But not all residents in Pilsen, where the first phase of the project could kick off this fall, view the initiative as a symbol of positive change.
Few people have played a larger role in Pilsen’s transformation during the past 27 years than Raul Raymundo, CEO of The Resurrection Project. He is now expanding his organization’s model to other neighborhoods, while he continues to struggle to preserve Pilsen’s identity and affordability.
Carmen Velásquez was indignant about the lack of health care available in her community. So she fought to open a clinic. Today, Alivio Medical Center operates one urgent care center and six community health centers, three of them in local schools.
Lilliana Calderon found steady employment and financial independence with the help of Chicago Women in Trades, a local organization that helps women break into the male-dominated plumbing, carpentry, pipe-fitting, electric, and bricklaying trades. She recently bought her first home in Pilsen.