August 03, 2022
For years, Chicago's Black and Brown communities have been separated. There are tensions between those even in the same neighborhoods due to a difference in racial and cultural backgrounds. Shelby N. Chaney launched Still We R.I.S.E., LLC in 2020 to follow her passion for mediating racial tensions with a specialization in Black and Brown dynamics. In her work, she centers Black history, culture, and identity believing that if the most marginalized are centered then everyone in society will be able to rise.
In 2020 SWOP’s Anti-blackness Awareness Initiative came about when Shelby was doing curriculum work with SWOP during the pandemic. When tragedies such as the George Floyd incident came about, Black and brown conversations had begun in SWOP spaces. As the conversations evolved, Shelby was recognized as someone who could lead these conversations due to her previous research in this topic. At the end of 2020, a virtual symposium was held with more than 60 people. In these sessions, community members demonstrated an interest in learning about one another on a deeper level. This year was focused on building intentional spaces to bring understanding amongst Black and Brown groups and work to produce a true community rather than one that feels subdivided. SWOP wants people to feel comfortable talking about what race is and have hard conversations so that understanding can be built. SWOP staff and leaders are now having conversations about the history of their cultures and cultural differences. Leaders are planning to hold a guided Black and Brown tour and community building experience at the DuSable Museum with the intention to hold a similar trip in a Latinx space.