Alderman hosts block party convention in North Lawndale to bring community together

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago and North Lawndale community leaders and residents came together Saturday for the betterment of their neighborhood

"We want to make sure that all these blocks all around our communities know each other, [and] are building a community and are coming together as one," said 24th Ward Alderman Michael Scott.

Scott hosted a Block Club convention at the Douglass Park Fieldhouse to help neighbors meet others and connect as a community with its own resources.

"Neighbors don't know each other anymore and so when people are talking about how to do public safety, and if you don't know your neighbor next to you, you don't have that vested interest in making sure they're safe," Scott said.

Dozens attended Saturday's block club convention, where various North Lawndale organizations from public safety, policy planning to street beautification were showcased.

"That's how we're going to grow. That's how we rebuild the community -- by block clubs coming together, resources coming to the table, and everybody realizing we are all in this together," said Rodney Brown with the North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council.

It's all in an effort to help residents interested in starting their own block clubs or bring new life to existing ones.

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"Just having people to communicate with each other, just having people to join and do activities with each other. Keeping beautiful lawns together," said Block Club President Maurice Smith.

The city's West Side, unfortunately, has seen its share of summer violence, leaving residents looking for answers to crime on their streets.

"I want them to do a lot for the community, help us reach out and support the youth because we need it," said North Lawndale resident Adrian Johnson.

Scott emphasized, while public safety is one way to better his community, he said a bigger part involves engaging the community itself.

"Public safety is not built on the backs of police officers. Each and every day, these men and women in blue -- they do a great job, but I think it all starts at home and starts in our community and starts block by block," the alderman said.

Scott plans to host another convention in the fall. He hopes this approach to taking ownership of one's neighborhood, with resources to help build pride in where they live, will help create a more welcoming and safer environment.

"Hopefully, this will be something that sparks the attention and it does well and then other folks can emulate that across the city, and we'll have better public safety across the city of Chicago," Scott said.
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