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Equity & Empowerment | Lessons from Bronzeville

Updated: Dec 6, 2021


Saathi has been in several years of partnerships and work to design a practice that empowers residents to build solutions in new ways. It has been a beautiful opportunity to collaborate with an amazing group of powerful, tireless and innovative leaders from around Chicago to test solutions in response to the problem:

How can we build resilient livelihoods for young people in Bronzeville?

On Sept 11, we shared a warm and energetic community space to celebrate this work.

Teams shared the ideas they have designed and have been prototyping, including a "hire local" campaign, a restorative justice hub and an entrepreneurial bike and urban garden program.

The work doesn't come from a strategic plan or a boardroom. It comes from getting out into the neighborhood, learning from and understanding young people and their context and most importantly taking the first step at activating an idea.

These folks gave their time and hearts to this project - and are creating real opportunities for young people in a few short months.

A few of the lessons learned:

  • Stand back so others can stand up

  • Ask, not tell

  • Try, not plan

Photo Credit: Bina M. Patel, 2017.

I love my job. I am grateful to partner with amazing folks and clients.