Reporting Dorothy Tucker
CHICAGO (CBS) — When you think of the neighborhood Englewood, murders and drug deals may be two things that first come to mind, but there’s a positive side to the South Side neighborhood that 80,000 people call home.
It’s also home to Kennedy King College and celebrities who grew up there include Jennifer Hudson, Chaka Khan, Derrick Rose and Isaiah Thomas.
CBS 2′s Dorothy Tucker takes a closer look at a side of the area you may not know.
Jim Harbin, a real estate broker, moved to Englewood because he fell in love with his eight bedroom, three and half bath home.
Today, like then, Englewood is considered one of the most violent communities in the city, but he says he is not afraid to live there.
Harbin points to kids in the park and families relaxing. He says shootings don’t happen every day, every block and most of the 80,000 who call Englewood home obey the law.
“There’s more to this community than meets the eye,” said Harbin. “If you pay attention you’ll see a lot of people that work, trying to make this a better community.”
The path to change is monthly meetings by residents of Englewood. They pack a small church because they have no permanent office, no government funding and little budget.
Aysha Butler says they make it work by, “Utilizing people strengths. One of our residents designed our entire brochure voluntarily. One of our members said, ‘I’ll pay for the website for the whole year.’”
Community issues consume much of the meeting, but this is also where they plan “Peaceful Projects” like last month’s fun festival in Sherwood Park, the scene of a recent shooting.
The community group in Englewood is called Residents Association of Greater Englewood, or RAGE.
“We call it positive disruption. People aren’t coming by to rob folks if you have a ton of people out with music and fun,” said Butler. “The issue of violence will probably never go away. I mean I don’t know what’s going to happen with violence but what it does for us is we keep creating more peace.”
They’re having another “Peace” event this weekend. Saturday at the Hamilton Park Cultural Center you’ll find food, music, art and fun.
For more information, visit RAGE’s website at rageenglewood.org.