On Thursday, March 28, 2019 over 170 community members, Parent Mentors, individuals from member institutions, SWOP staff, and friends of SWOP entered the basement of Holy Cross Hospital to represent their neighborhood and share their concerns for their blocks, churches, schools, and other organizations. SWOP opened its quarterly action council with SWOP leaders speaking on diverse issues from immigration to youth engagement. SWOP’s executive director, Jeff Bartow, provided an opportunity for community members to learn about each other’s values and hopes for their community through one-to-one conversations and SWOP staff spoke on a new “Southwest System of Care,” (a health care initiative) for our neighborhood Chicago Public Schools, and on the overall decrease in crime in our neighborhood, as well as next steps to continue to address violence on our streets.
As the action council continued throughout the evening, attendees participated in one breakout group. Breakout groups discussed anti-violence, housing, education, parent engagement, youth engagement, and immigration concerns. The energy in the room steadily built as concerned residents and community members discussed possible action steps and solutions to tackle current issues affecting the southwest side of Chicago. As the action council drew to close, representatives from each group addressed the assembly with key bullet points from each discussion. Those present at the event were asked to make commitments to participate in follow-up discussions with their breakout group and meet with others in their community individually, in a “one to one” meeting.