April 23, 2024

United Power Action at Salem Baptist Church

On April 21st, 2024, the Salem Baptist Church in Roseland became a sanctuary not only of faith but also of fervent activism as the coalition known as United Power convened to discuss the latest strides in the Reclaiming Chicago Campaign. At the event's helm stood co-chairs Shenita Muse and Whittney Smith, who led the action and introduced key speakers. Among them was John Roberson, the Chief Operating Officer of the City of Chicago and the City’s Reclaiming Chicago Point Person, whose resolute declaration to "remove the tape" reverberated with a promise to stand aside and make the process to secure empty lots and homes easier. With unwavering resolve, the coalition set its sights on the goal of securing 500 lots in the next three years to achieve the longer-term goal of building 1,000 homes on the south side and 1,000 homes on the west side which Mayor Brandon Johnson vowed to support.

In a moment charged with emotion and pride, SWOP's own Imelda Salazar took to the stage, her words echoing the collective journey of United Power. She spoke of the trials overcome, the victories celebrated, and the unity forged among the myriad organizations working tirelessly toward a common goal. Through collaboration and solidarity, everyone had come this far, and together, they would continue to push boundaries and defy obstacles. As the event unfolded, new homeowners were hailed as champions of the Reclaiming Chicago Campaign, their dedication and perseverance symbolizing the transformative power of collective action. Meanwhile, prospective homeowners eagerly awaited their turn, their aspirations intertwined with the promise of a brighter future.

Attendees were urged to continue to stand with United Power and act so that their elected government officials would hear the community's many voices. They were called upon to reach out to their alderpersons, imploring them to approve the transfer of the 500 vacant lots to United Power for the construction of new homes. Simultaneously, they were urged to contact their state representatives and senators, advocating for the re-allocation of the $10 million designated for the campaign in the budget, with a bold plea to increase it by another $5 million.

As the event ended, the sounds of determination lingered, a testament to the unwavering resolve of United Power and its constituent organizations. With hearts united and spirits emboldened, participants departed, ready to continue the fight for justice, equity, and the realization of their shared vision for a revitalized Chicago

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