Over the course of his long career, 25th Ward Alderman Danny Solis has risen from ragtag community activist to one of the most powerful and senior aldermen in the Chicago City Council. During that time, he’s managed to expertly leverage power and city funds to help transform his ward.
Father Charles Dahm is a dyed-in-the-wool activist, following in the footsteps of a long line of old-school, firebrand Catholic priests. He’s been pastor or associate pastor at St. Pius V in Pilsen since 1986 and says he has no intention of ever leaving. “I felt, and still feel, totally enriched just living in this neighborhood,” says Dahm.
Jeramey Winfield is a 26-year-old North Lawndale native who was introduced to the concept of restorative justice while in high school. He now facilitates restorative justice in his community as a way to help heal divisions, support residents, and combat the violence that has affected many residents, including his own family.
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.