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Hyde Park, Woodlawn, South Shore

Woodlawn Community Summit Will Bring Together Neighbors To Talk Quality Of Life Issues Saturday

Sen. Dick Durbin, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Chicago Housing Commissioner Marisa Novara are scheduled to speak. Here's how to register.

Attendees at the 2019 Woodlawn Community Summit listen to a presentation from Jahmal Cole of My Block, My Hood, My City.
Kaye Cooksey
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WOODLAWN — Woodlawn residents can learn more about opportunities for improving the quality of life in the neighborhood at the Woodlawn Community Summit Saturday morning.

The free summit will be held at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration, 969 E. 60th St. Registration opens at 7:45 a.m. Saturday. You can register for the summit here.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle are scheduled to give opening remarks.

After a breakfast reception at 8 a.m., a panel including Apostolic Church of God pastor Byron Brazier, Housing Commissioner Marisa Novara and Cook County Land Bank director Rob Rose will discuss grassroots organizing strategies at 9:30 a.m.

Breakout sessions will follow, covering the following topics:

  • Building, transforming and investing in South Side neighborhoods.
  • Youth entrepreneurship, where middle and high school students can discuss their business ideas.
  • Building a safe and secure community, featuring presentations from law enforcement professionals and the Center for Youth Violence Prevention.
  • Sustainability on the South Side, sponsored by environmental nonprofit Blacks In Green.
  • Housing affordability, buying patterns and rehab options.

Session topics were chosen based on Woodlawn residents’ input, according to summit co-founder and South East Chicago Commission board member Liz Gardner.

“The summit for last 11 years has been designed by residents for residents,” Gardner said.

Saturday’s summit will feature a resource center with information about Census procedures and the neighborhood’s elected officials, businesses and cultural opportunities.

The Obama Foundation will also display a model of the planned Obama Presidential Center, which would be located in the neighborhood in Jackson Park.

Credit: Maxwell Evans/Block Club Chicago
Obama Foundation Summit attendees look over a 3D model of updated site plans for the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park on Oct. 29, 2019.

Following the summit, a charter bus tour will visit properties for sale around Woodlawn, Washington Park and Bronzeville from 12:30–2 p.m. Registration is required for the bus tour.

More than 400 people have registered for the summit as of Wednesday afternoon, according to Gardner.

The summit is “a wonderful opportunity to reflect on all you have accomplished over the past 11 years,” Gov. JB Pritzker said to summit organizers in an open letter. “Your longevity is truly a testament to the relationships this organization has fostered over time.”

A follow-up session is planned for April 25, and partner organizations like the YWCA and Blacks In Green provide relevant programming year-round, Gardner said.

A full schedule and more details on the summit can be viewed on the South East Chicago Commission’s website.

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