Empowering health and wealth in Chicago's Austin Community

Austin Community Austin P.O.W.E.R. 5 K
Austin Community Austin P.O.W.E.R. 5 K

You can join the  Austin community on Saturday, September 26th, as it prepares to is get healthy in more ways than one. A coalition of organizations are hosting the first inaugural Austin POWER 5k. In addition to focusing on building  physical fitness opportunities, the community is focused on building economic wealth.
P.O.W.E.R. stands for “ People Organizing Wealth and Economic Resources.” Funds raised from the 5k will be used to support job training opportunities for young people as well as entrepreneurship experiences for youth. Individual registration is $35 and team registration for a team of ten is $300. So far, hundreds have signed up including several city departments, and even the Mayor himself has committed to running in the event.
Malcolm Crawford, Director of the Austin African American Business Networking Association said the idea for the 5k emerged after conversations with community members and representatives from the City of Chicago on how to reinvent the image of the Austin community. “We were looking for something that would show off the assets in our community and draw people from the around the city,” he said.
This is a step toward being attractive to additional development and businesses to the Austin community. “We want to change the perception of Austin,” Crawford said. “When we change the perception, it will allow us to do more.” Crawford has been a long time advocate for the Austin business community and is currently working with a coalition to re-develop a portion of the Chicago Avenue business corridor.
 
 Black Girls Jump with Amara Enyia Chicago Mayoral Candidate who is very athletic.

Black Girls Jump with Amara Enyia Chicago Mayoral Candidate who is very athletic.

Executive Director of the Austin Chamber of Commerce, Amara Enyia, said she’s excited about the economic and health function of the 5k. An avid athlete she says the 5k is a way to heighten awareness about the fact that health is wealth. “I love the fact that we’re raising money for young people and entrepreneurs, but I also love the fact that people will see the hundreds of runners going through the neighborhood, and it might inspire them to want to get in shape.” Many participants are using the 5k as a way to jumpstart a new healthy chapter in their lives. “This is the motivation many of them need and I think it’s great that community members are starting their healthy journey together.” Enyia said she agrees with the notion of changing the perception of the Austin community. “We have so many assets in Austin. We’re the largest community area, have some of the most beautiful housing stock in the city, excellent infrastructure, access to downtown and the western suburbs, this is a great community,” she said.
The race steps off at Chicago and Mayfield at 8:00am. Registration online is available at www.austinpower5k.com.

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