Nobel Neighbors in 2014-2015: Calling for Peace in our Streets in 2014-2015

In response to the murders of Sam Walker (34) and Lafayette Walton (16) in July, both near the corner of Crystal and Keeler, Nobel Neighbors held its first vigil of six in as many weeks on August 6th, 2014. This vigil, and many others after it, brought together neighbors and partners in the fight against gun violence in our streets in order to call attention to a major crisis that has impacted the area in West Humboldt Park served by Nobel Neighbors for generations.

Since the murders of Sam Walker and Lafayette Walton, from July 2014 through January 2016 alone, in the Nobel Neighbors community area there were 5 homicides, 19 shooting victims, and and untold number of unreported shootings (see map below). For more information, consult the DNAInfo Chicago interactive map: Where Shootings Have Occurred in Chicago Since 2010.

Shootings July 2014 through Jan 2016

To read a report detailing this campaign for peace in our streets, click here: A Year n Some in the Hood: Nobel Neighbors in 2014-15

See also press coverage of vigils:

Nobel Neighbors returns to its roots

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nobel Neighbors returns to its roots
West Humboldt Park, Chicago Il. May 31, 2014
Nobel Neighbors, a long standing community organizing group serving West Humboldt Park residents, is refocusing on its founding mission to provide a safe environment and opportunities for the neighborhood’s youth.

“Nobel Neighbors was originally founded to reclaim the blocks immediately surrounding the Nobel Elementary School [4127 W. Hirsch St.], from gang activity,” said long-time board member and community resident Jim Lundeen. “In the mid-1990’s, Nobel Neighbors added housing development to our organizing work to take on problems with abandoned buildings and shoddy practices by FHA lenders. In 2008, we put further emphasis on housing work to support our community through the economic crisis. Now that the housing market has stabilized and the community has larger community organizations solely focused on housing as deep, reliable resources, Nobel Neighbors can refocus on its roots – the community and its children.”

According to Antwan McHenry, a community resident and Board member, “During an extensive program review with the Chicago Police Department’s “A Force for Good” initiative, Nobel Neighbors’ Board took a fresh look at the key issues facing West Humboldt Park today with an eye to understanding where Nobel Neighbors could have the most impact.”

Jennifer Dixon, Nobel Neighbors Board Chairman, said “We felt that we had an opportunity to do more to meet the organization’s founding objectives and determined that supporting the community’s schools – Alfred Nobel Elementary School and West Park Academy- would both return us to our mission and give us the best chance to make a difference in the community. We have worked closely and openly with the administration of both institutions to outline a strategy that will fit with their goals and help them meet their most urgent needs. We expect to see several initiatives come to fruition with the schools over the next year.”

“Even as we move into a direction that focuses on our founding objectives, we recognize there are broader issues that affect our neighborhood.” said Bill Smiljanich, community activist, property owner, and Board Member. “We believe that engaging and organizing with the parents and students of our local schools allows us to deeply connect to the broader issues and initiatives of our neighborhood. Additionally, our organization is looking to reconnect with old projects that have taken on lives of their own and have made a significant impact on the community, such as the Children’s Garden of Hope, which exists because of Nobel Neighbors.”

“We fundamentally believe that investing in our children is an investment for the future, so we are refocusing to more effectively support the community’s schools and creating environments within which neighborhood kids can engage in safe recreational activities. Nobel Neighbors’ goal is give each child an opportunity to reach their full potential, regardless of income or race,” said Dixon. Antwan McHenry said, “I grew up in this neighborhood. I live and work here for a reason. I want to see this neighborhood and its residents thrive. I know that as a kid, the opportunities that Nobel Neighbors gave me opened my eyes to a world beyond drugs and gangs, which is why I support and have advocated for continuing and expanding our traditional focus on kids.”

New partnership with First Midwest Bank!

We are pleased to announce that we will be partnering with First Midwest Bank to offer financial classes to the community. Our first class, entitled “To Your Credit,” will be held at West Park Academy on Thursday, February 21st from 9:30 to 11:00am. All are welcome

First Midwest will be offering different classes throughout the year addressing different financial issues. You can see a link to some of their other classes below.

If you have any input as far as what kind of classes you would like to see offered, email Chris at antonelli.chris@gmail.com

http://www.firstmidwest.com/FinancialBalanceWorkshopSeries.aspx

Kedvale Park Clean-up

Hey Neighbors!

We are hosting a park clean-up this weekend at Kedvale Park across from Nobel Elementary at 4134 W Hirsch. The city is providing tools and local vendors are providing refreshments. Meet around 10am at Kedvale park. This is a great opportunity to improve the neighborhood and connect with neighbors.

If you would like to get involved in the planning/setting up, call Chris at 402-709-0888 

First-time home buyers workshop

This Saturday, 9am to 3pm, Nobel Neighbors is offering a workshop on buying a home. This is perfect for anyone interested in buying a home but doesn’t know where to get started. The workshop covers things like how to build up good credit, navigating the mortgage process, finding the right home and becoming a successful homeowner. 

The workshop will be held at Mission of Christ Church, 1345 N Karlov in west Humbolt Park

Leaders Per Block

Nobel Neighbors has hired a new Americorps VISTA volunteer to reinvigorate the Leaders Per Block program and maximize communication between community members and Nobel Neighbors. The goal is to recruit leaders on each block in the neighborhood to act as a voice for their neighbors and connect neighbors in to enable the community to address its own issues. The more connections we can build in our neighborhood, the safer our streets will be, the more vibrant our gardens will become and ultimately the higher our quality of life will be.

Identifying and connecting leaders in our community allows us to more accurately assess and address the needs of the community, but it also gives residents direct input on future Nobel Neighbors programming. Having a stake in Nobel Neighbors gives residents an established community partner and connects them to various social services, job training/opportunities, local government, schools, parks etc. When we organize together, there is no limit to what we can accomplish.

Keep updated on events, classes, programs and meetings by checking our blog or following us on Twitter and Facebook

For more info about the Leaders Per Block program or if you want to get involved, email Chris Antonelli at antonelli.chris@gmail.com