Action Now held a press conference and rally on July 13th in the Englewood community at 53rd and Laflin, where every corner of the intersection is a vacant lot. Members held this rally to voice their concern that the Mayor’s plan to demolish vacant buildings will only lead to more blocks full of dangerous vacant lots, like the one where the rally was held. Instead, Action Now members propose that the Mayor and City Council pass the Rebuild Chicago ordinance that would a establish a land bank where vacant properties could be donated, rehabbed and rented on a large scale. Click here for a one-pager on Rebuild Chicago. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the proposal.
At the press conference Action Now President Michelle Young stated, “The solution to the vacant property problem is not to create more destruction and vacant lots by tearing down buildings. We must rebuild our communities by transforming vacant buildings into homes for families once again, using the Rebuild Chicago plan developed by Action Now Institute. Our neighborhoods have already been abandoned by the city and now it seems that they want to wipe them out completely.”
On July 10th, 2012 a 14-year-old boy was shot while standing in a vacant lot in the Roseland neighborhood at about 10:30 p.m. Action Now has also held past rallies at vacant lots where rapes and shootings have occurred.
Charles Brown, Englewood resident and one of the creators of the Rebuild Chicago plan pointed out, “The Mayor’s plan to tear down vacant buildings will only lead to more vacant lots, which are just as dangerous as vacant buildings. The way to address the problem of crime and violence in vacant buildings is to rehab buildings instead of destroying them.”
After the press conference Action Now members marched and chanted around the block, stopping at each vacant building to post up a sign that said “CAUTION: Do not demolish this building! Rehab and rent!”