Members of the newly formed Resident Association of Greater Englewood (also known as R.A.G.E.) held a three-part candidate forum series entitled the “Who’s Running” Summit. Candidates running for office in Englewood’s six aldermanic wards - 3, 6, and 20 (Part I), 15 and 16 (Part II), and 17 (Part III) were invited to attend and share their platforms with Greater Englewood residents.
More than 150 Englewood residents packed into the community room at the 7th Police District to attend the R.A.G.E. candidate forum for the 15th and 16th wards.
The purpose of the summit series was three-fold: (1) to engage and educate residents about the election process; (2) to provide information relating to major neighborhood issues, initiatives, and projects; (3) to offer a safe and civil environment to learn about candidates and their visions for the Greater Englewood community. The series was a major success, hosting over 300 attendees and 28 candidates.
Franklin Johnson, a 30 year old Englewood resident, stated that he had "never engaged in a serious discussion that addressed the concerns of residents."
All questions addressed to the candidates came directly from audience members. "The candidates seemed surprised at our level of knowledge regarding TIF (tax increment finance) dollars," said Johnson.
One highlight of the summit series was R.A.G.E.’s notorious, rapid “yes/no” questions. (Notorious among candidates, but greatly received by residents!) Before beginning this session of the forum, the moderator explained to the audience that despite Greater Englewood having six wards, there were no alderman offices in the neighborhood. In all, only 15 candidates committed to opening a ward office in the Englewood community.
The main highlight of the summit series, however, came at the end when attendees were asked to evaluate the event. On the survey sheets, residents were asked to write three things they enjoyed most about living in Englewood. The over-whelming responses included community culture, heritage and history of the neighborhood, and location and accessibility. These surveys showed the pride and passion that Greater Englewood residents have for their community. And it is through this perspective that R.A.G.E. intends to continue engaging and representing Englewood residents.
Those who were apprehensive of the name R.A.G.E. soon learned that the acronym not only exemplifies the frustrations of residents, but also the amazing passion and leadership often overlooked in the community. Candidates walked away applauding the organized structure of the event, residents were excited to learn of the brewing of new community leadership, and R.A.G.E. was pleased to encourage the fellowship of neighbors.
17th ward aldermanic candidates address community residents at the R.A.G.E. forum held at Englewood Mennonite Church.
And those who questioned the association’s political stance saw accountability and consistency at each and every forum. Upon being asked if they would commit to meeting with R.A.G.E. quarterly, all of the candidates responded “yes.”
Politics aside, R.A.G.E. is ready to move forward. The excitement and energy continues, with R.A.G.E. set to host a ‘meet & greet’ social in March (details to come).
Greater Englewood is ready for change. Are you?
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Posted in Community Organizations