Sunday, April 26, 2015

Community Members of South East Chicago

South East Chicago has a wide variety of people coming from different backgrounds. When it comes to knowing the community, one of the best ways to learn more is to know its residents. In March we asked several individuals what are their thoughts on the community and what they would like to be changed.

The questions that were asked were

What do you like most about your community?
If you could change one thing about Hegewisch, what would it be?
How much time do you normally spend outdoors?
What’s your favorite outdoors spot in Hegewisch?

Do you have any concerns regarding the environment within the community?
Do you believe you live in a safe healthy community?
What do you think makes a community healthy or unhealthy?
If you were a political representative of your community what would you do differently?(law, policy)

Are you aware of the petcoke issue?
If yes:
How do you think it has affected your community?
What do you think should be done?

Throughout the visits we were able to also get photographs of two very kind women along with their input on the community.

What do you like about your community?

“That we can walk safely around the neighborhoods.”

Juanita here works for a local dentist office and was very aware of the environmental issues that are occurring within the area. She told us personal stories of how the environment is causing respiratory problems for friends and relatives.

If you could change one thing about Hegewisch, what would it be?
“Wish it was nicer”

Frannie was an employee at a local Pete’s Fresh Market that was happy to give her input on the area. She would like for it to be safer for her children to come out and play. Often she feels she should keep her children inside because she does not feel the area is clean enough for her kids to play.

These were two individuals of the community that were very cooperative giving their honest opinion on the area. They both were residents of South East Chicago and would like for it to be cleaner and safer for its members. This was insightful as we now have recommendations from actual community members, and can use these in consideration for any major decision-making in the future. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Saturday April 18th was a day that the community was able to come together and have a discussion regarding the environment. The meeting was held at University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and consisted of individuals discussing the Tarsands resistance within the community.
These people are on tour throughout the Midwest to raise awareness of the dangers regarding the pipelines being provided by oil companies. More information on their tour and how to help their cause can be found here (

People such as Eriel Deranger, Andy Pearson, Thomas Frank and many more came out telling personal stories of how tar sands has affected their environment, health and personal lives. We learned of a 51 year old woman whose community inhabited 80 families and now 10 are left. Due to the devastation of pipelines bursting and contaminating the river, Eriel mourned over the deaths of her neighbors and continues to miss the other neighbors that left.

Thomas Frank, Olga Bautista and Tom Shepard soon discussed petcoke and its effect on South East Chicago. Pictures were provided regarding the amount of petcoke as well as the change of properties throughout the years as BP is buying land areas for parking. This change of ownership is causing community members to be concerned as they do not want to leave and do not want to face the health consequences. The implications that BP is causing on South East Chicago is driving people away, and causing respiratory illnesses amongst the people that stay.

People need to know more about the environmental problems going on throughout the Midwest. The purpose of this meeting was to raise awareness about the Midwest pipelines and fracking & its effect on the nearby population.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A note from Senator Jeff Merkly of Oregon is worth noting:

When asked for their thoughts on climate change, a popular line for the other side – including some Presidential hopefuls – is this: “I’m not a scientist.”
I’m not a chemist, but I believe that H2= water.
I’m not a physicist, but I'm sold on gravity.
I'm not a cartographer, but I'm pretty sure the earth isn't flat.
And I’m not a climate scientist, but the scientists have made it clear that climate change is a real and present threat to all of us.
Carbon in the atmosphere is up dramatically.  The oceans are far more acidic. And average temperatures are jumping.  These are facts.
We can have a debate about how we address climate change, but the time for debate on whether it’s happening is long, long past. Climate change denial is simply irresponsible.  The economic and environmental impacts are already falling heavily on certain communities and it puts future generations everywhere at risk.
America is ready for bold action that starts saving our planet and our future. Anyone running for office – from President on down – would be wise to remember that.