August 12, 2011
Lakeview is one of the most vibrant and welcoming neighborhoods in Chicago which is why so many choose to live here, work here and visit here. As members of the broader Lakeview community, we believe that for all the benefits our neighborhood offers there is still room to grow. Specifically, there is an opportunity to make our streets and our community safer and more welcoming for all people.
In response to violent incidents in Lakeview this summer and the subsequent community dialogue, Center on Halsted invited various community leaders and residents to form the Lakeview Safety & Inclusion Coalition (LSIC). Our express purpose is to bring different voices to the table to design and implement collaborative, productive and concrete solutions to help make Lakeview a safer and more inclusive community for all.
We aim to do this in the following ways:
- Develop an action plan for the community at large that includes concrete deliverables.
- Take an affirmative stand against multiple forms of violence.
- Take an affirmative stand against discrimination and abusive language of any kind - in particular against our community's most vulnerable members.
- Increase trust and build lasting relationships between diverse community members and groups.
- Share and replicate best practices from various community members and groups.
- Work directly with the community to ensure public participation and feedback.
LSIC is still in its early stages. We first met in July following the CAPS meeting to ensure a constructive, action-oriented conversation. Since then we have grown in number, held two subsequent full meetings and formed working groups to create a roadmap for the coalition's work ahead.
As part of our ongoing public engagement plan, we have launched a website
to inform community members about our efforts, to solicit public input and to offer our group as a resource for Lakeview. To be clear, we do not believe our work can happen in a vacuum. We will work with all members of the community to solicit input, advice, feedback and buy-in. Only when we work together can we elevate our dialogue and make our community safer and more inclusive for all.
Our immediate next steps include addressing coalition membership to ensure broader representation, collecting and analyzing data on crime and public perceptions, creating forums for public engagement, hosting community building events and proposing a timeline for developing our action plan.
Current members of the Coalition include committed representatives from diverse constituency groups including business owners, young adults, public officials, residents, homeowners, social service organizations, members of the clergy, students and more. We represent the diversity of gender identities, sexual orientations, income levels and ethnicities that make Lakeview such a vibrant community. Though we have diverse perspectives and differing life experiences we all share one common vision: to make our community safer and more inclusive for all.
We are committed to work hard and think strategically . We will avoid easy answers and we will not shy away from difficult conversations necessary to foster collective accountability. Lakeview is a place for all of us - to live, to work, to visit, to play. It is a place of hope and progress. Working together we can help Lakeview become an even greater example of what a safe, diverse and welcoming neighborhood really can be.
The Lakeview Safety & Inclusion Coalition