Skip to contents
Hyde Park, Woodlawn, South Shore

Obama Center Community Benefits Agreement Activists Offer Free Breakfast To Neighbors Looking To Learn More This Weekend

"No one wants people to be pushed out, but we all want this center to come."

Marchers in support of a CBA ordinance to protect against Obama Center-related displacement head down Stony Island Avenue on Sept. 5, 2019.
Maxwell Evans/Block Club Chicago
  • Credibility:

WOODLAWN — Community organizers with the Obama Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) Coalition will hold a teach-in Saturday to help residents better understand the benefits their ordinance would secure if passed.

The teach-in will be held at the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration, 969 E. 60th St. It runs from 10 am to 12 p.m. Breakfast will be served to encourage attendance on what’s expected to be a chilly morning.

There will be time for attendees to read the full ordinance, said coalition member Ashli Giles-Perkins, who is affiliated with BYP100.

Fact sheets, discussion and a powerpoint will follow, breaking down the ordinance for clarity. They’ll explain the specific benefits the proposal calls for, like a community trust fund and what it would look like if 30 percent of the neighborhood was set aside for affordable housing.

The teach-in isn’t really intended for those familiar with the ordinance and the coalition, Giles-Perkins said, although they’re invited to come.

The discussion won’t be wonky and in the weeds, organizers said. They want to make sure people who just saw a flyer and showed up aren’t left out of the conversation.

Many of the groups that make up the coalition will have sign-up sheets and other information for attendees to get involved.

This is the second teach-in the coalition has held this year, following a panel in February that was moderated by lauded sociologist, author and education activist Eve Ewing.

There’s been little progress on the ordinance they helped draft since it was introduced to City Council’s Housing Committee this summer.

Giles-Perkins said the ordinance has not been amended since its introduction. It has not been brought to a vote in the committee.

Committee chair Ald. Harry Osterman (48th) did not respond to a request for comment.

Before the ordinance was introduced in July, co-sponsors Alds. Jeanette Taylor (20th) and Leslie Hairston (5th) said its passage was necessary and imminent.

Hairston said once the initial ordinance was passed, it would be followed by other agreements around employment, sustainability, education and transportation in the area.

Taylor was unavailable to provide updates, as she has been out with the flu all week, staffers said. She was elected in April after years as a community organizer, during which she helped to lead the CBA effort.

The coalition is shifting gears a bit due to the committee’s delay, Giles-Perkins said. In recent weeks, members have focused less on communication with Osterman’s office in favor of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office and the city’s legal counsel.

The Housing Committee’s inaction on the issue has left some coalition members feeling the ordinance has been “a little pushed to the side and stalled a bit,” she said.

The ordinance has received “verbal yeses” from a majority of aldermen, Giles-Perkins said, so the coalition still has plenty of hope for its passage — if it ever gets out of committee.

“No one wants people to be pushed out, but we all want this center to come,” Giles-Perkins said. “It’s a great honor for it to be here in Chicago.”

Do stories like this matter to you? Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.

Want to support Block Club with a tax-deductible donation? Thanks to NewsMatch 2019, your donation will be doubled through Dec. 31. Donate here.