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Resident Leadership and Engagement

Garfield Park residents join 27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett, Jr.  and community leaders from other Chicago neighborhoods at a citywide One Chicago For All Mayoral Candidates Forum in January 2019

Resident leadership and engagement is one of the most powerful tools against crime and other quality of life issues that prevent Garfield Park residents from enjoying the freedom to walk, shop, and enjoy their homes and community, something taken for granted in other Chicago neighborhoods.

In late 2014, the GPCC began a resident leadership and organizing initiative designed to support residents as they assume leadership roles in community planning and revitalization efforts. In the past five years, more than 100 residents have participated in leadership, organizing, advocacy, and campaign strategy planning to date through the GPCC and its partners. Annual community organizing trainings are led by veteran organizers at the Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization, Metropolitan Tenants Organization, Target Area DevCorps, and Southwest Organizing Project.  Participants have learned about the qualities and importance of leadership and the process of identifying community priorities and developing advocacy campaigns. The GPCC works with training participants to conduct hyper-local collective action campaigns and engage community members in its outreach. This initiative adds value and authenticity to the GPCC’s direct programming by ensuring that the organization’s work is planned and implemented in response to resident-articulated needs and desires. 

The GPCC will continue to provide training and support to community members as they develop the expertise to organize and advocate for change on a block-by-block level.  This will be a critical component to long-term success in combating issues that impact quality of life issues community-wide, including substandard housing, gangs, drugs, lack of employment opportunities, and economic disinvestment.