Reclaiming The Hood
In light of the events that transpired the summer of 2020, TGi launched its campaign Reclaiming The Hood to raise funds to buy properties along 63rd street in the Chicago Lawn community to bring in more black businesses, to bring community centers to the community, and to begin to encourage dialog centered around generational wealth in black and brown communities.
Years Of Disinvestment
The process of redlining, which may seem like a relic from an unjust past, is still alive and well in the Chicago Lawn community. According to a new study done by WEBZ,
“For every $1 banks loaned in Chicago’s white neighborhoods, they invested just 12 cents in black neighborhoods and 13 cents in Latino areas.”
This severely impacts the communities’ ability to be healthy, happy, and ultimately equitable. Chicago Lawn, in addition to once being a southside downtown, was also home to an annual parade. This community-led parade lasted 20 years and traveled right along 63rd street. This history of economic disinvestment of this community means not only the loss of events like the parade but also leads to businesses and other potential resources and commerce avoiding the area as well. This further results in disinvestment, lack of access to essential resources, poorly funded schools, high mobility rate and so much more.
During the ’60s, Chicago's south 63rd street was viewed as an economic competitor to the downtown market. However, Chicago Lawn, like many communities in Chicago, experienced a rapid change in population due to white flight. White flight saw that as black and brown families moved into the neighborhood, many if not most white families left out of fear, distrust, or prejudice. From 1990 to the year 2000, the Chicago Lawn community saw a decrease in the white population of about 33% and an increase in the black (and brown) population of 70%. With this mass exodus came the loss of resources equity and infrastructure.
As it stands, just along 63rd, from California to Western (.5mi Radius) 57 out of the 92 properties are vacant (62%). That’s just a small portion of the 63rd street strip. Through Reclaiming The Hood we will be working the change the negative stigma that shrouds 63rd street and begin to develop spaces and commit ourselves to revive 63rd street as a vibrant strip within the city.
This past August TGi has reached a milestone in our RTH campaign. We have brought a black business and a youth center to 63rd street in the Chicago Lawn community. August 15th marked the grand opening of Da Oasis. A space for our youth programming to take place, a space for our merch, a place for events, and overall a space for youth in the community. We are even taking the extra step to open to space to be reserved for private meetings and events. This is just one of many steps needed to revitalize 63rd street and to bring a sense of pride to the community.