Campaign Pushes Back At Negative Englewood Image

(CBS) — In one of Chicago’s most crime-ridden neighborhoods, there is a group of people standing up to say: We choose to live here and we love it.

CBS 2’s Audrina Bigos reports.

It’s called Englewood Rising, and it’s all about repairing a reputation.

Pastor Jonathan Brooks says he understands why some people may think about the problems, such as violence, when they hear the name Englewood.

“It’s not that that’s not a part of our narrative — it’s just that its incomplete,” he says.

Brooks lives here, leads a church here and raises his family here.

“When I go somewhere and say I live in Englewood, the first thing they think is, ‘Oh, you must be ducking bullets.’”

Therein lies the problem. Now, community boosters are capturing images to tell the other side of Englewood’s story.

“The camaraderie, the love, the community that’s in Englewood,” says Tonika Johnson.

Bright green billboards with positive images are just the beginning of a campaign called “Englewood Rising.” It’s people who live here, redefining a long-standing violent reputation by sharing the success stories.

“It won’t change the current landscape of our community, but it can change the spirits and hearts of the people here,” Asiaha Butler says.

Even with the resources being stripped and the schools closed, “Yet still we rise,” Brooks says.

This group knows it will take more than billboards, community gardens and marches to repair the reputation of their neighborhood.

And they know it will take a long time.

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