Third and Fourth Ward Aldermen Partner to Launch Safe Summer Initiative: “Building Community Block by Block”

Chicago, IL (July 8, 2016) – Chicago Alderman Pat Dowell (D, 3rd Ward) and Alderman Sophia King (D, 4th Ward) have launched “Building Community Block by Block,” an initiative that will expand Chicago Public Schools’ (CPS) Safe Passage program into the summer. Building Community Block by Block is designed to engage youth in the community through advocacy, entrepreneurship and summer jobs to help create safety in both wards.

From July 5th to August 12th, Safe Passage workers will provide block by block coverage while City of Chicago Police Department, University of Chicago Police Department and Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) will provide wrap-around coverage to keep the community safe at pre-determined hot spots in both wards. Bright Star Community Outreach and American Enterprises 3 are the two community organizations that have been selected by CPS Safe Passage to provide workers who will help to ensure the safety of young people moving throughout the community. The workers will be identified by wearing lime green vests bearing the logo “Building Community Block by Block.” In addition, the Love, Unity & Values (LUV) Institute and American Enterprises 3 will provide youth programming at Ellis, Kennicott, Mandrake, Taylor, Fuller and Anderson Chicago Park District parks while initiating youth engagement in the community. Sixty youth will work to make the community safer through advocacy, peace circles, block parties, vocational training, entrepreneurship and more.

In order to mitigate the anticipated summer violence, Alderman King is encouraging all stakeholders in the community to come together. “Gun violence is not an issue that happens in isolation; therefore, we need more than a police solution. We need a comprehensive approach that includes jobs, youth engagement and the entire community working together,” said King.

Over the past few months, Alderman Dowell and Alderman King have hosted planning meetings that have included representatives from Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Park District, University of Chicago Police Department, University of Chicago Urban Labs, City of Chicago Police Department 2nd District, Metra, Chicago Housing Authority, Bright Star Community Outreach, The Community Builders (TCB), LUV Institute, American Enterprises 3 and community members to plan ways to make both wards safer for the entire community. In addition, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and City Treasurer Kurt Summers have lent their support to ensure the success of the safe summer initiative.

According to Alderman Dowell, “This important project expands on the initiatives currently in place for 3rd Ward residents to provide jobs, training and summer programming; and I’m happy to partner with the 4th Ward to ensure that all Bronzeville residents have the opportunity to have a productive and safe summer.”

To ensure more public safety in both wards, the Aldermen are asking community members to (1) “Get Organized” to keep community safety a top priority, (2) “Plug-In” to your community network by building a relationship with your neighbors, (3) “Step Out & Speak Up” by reporting suspicious activity to the authorities, and (4) “Connect Publically” by participating in or hosting a block party.

Parents are encouraged to check out the 3rd and 4th Ward Chicago Park District parks to find out about events and activities for the entire family. Community members are also invited to attend local Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS) meetings to stay connected to what is happening in the community. For more information, visit www.dowellforthirdward.com and www.aldsophiaking.com.

To kick-off the Building Community Block by Block initiative, a press launch will be held for media and the public. Following are the details:

Date: Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Time: 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Location: Mandrake Park, 901 E. Pershing Road, Chicago, IL 60653

“The University of Chicago Police Department is pleased to work with the aldermen and local community members to support the Building Community Block by Block initiative,” said UCPD Chief of Police Fountain L. Walker. “It is a comprehensive approach to ensuring the safety of students participating in summer programs throughout the community, and it is one more way we are engaging with the public to promote public safety.”

The University of Chicago Urban Labs will measure the impact of the safe summer initiative. The ultimate goal of the safe summer initiative is to reduce violence in the 3rd and 4th Wards and to create a model that can be expanded into other aldermanic wards.