Taking pride in the spaces where you reside is something everyone should have. It is the job of community members to ensure their neighborhoods are clean, safe spaces to live, fellowship, and raise families. For many neighborhoods where minorities reside sidewalks and streets are riddled with trash of all kinds. It seems as though the members of the community don’t take pride in where they live, however, for one southside neighborhood this narrative is slowly changing. Willie Williams; a former Chicago Public Schools educator, author, entrepreneur, and avid community activist has taken up the reigns and decided to organize a community beautification event, The South Shore Community Clean-Up days. On Saturday, July 16th at 10 am beginning at the South Shore Cultural Center, Willie Williams and his team will bring together a group of volunteers to clean and improve the appearance of the South Shore neighborhood.
The Chicago Defender had a chance to speak with Willie Williams about the motivation behind The Black Chicago Neighborhood Clean-Up.
The Chicago Defender: What sparked the idea to organize a community clean-up?
Willie Williams: I lived in the South Shore neighborhood for about six years. As a former resident of this community and someone who loves black communities, I felt it was a part of my social responsibility to help clean it up.
The Chicago Defender: Why do you think people in the neighborhood don’t care for it as they should?
Willie Williams: A couple of reasons. There’s a disconnect with the neighborhood where you live when you don’t own it. Sometimes people only come in to shop, work and then they leave. Also, people are not in a space where they are concerned with the way things look outside. They don’t necessarily want to litter, but it’s mindfulness, being mindful of their surroundings, and people kind of operate in mindless ways in terms of pollution. It’s not a big community priority to care for or clean the community as one.
The Chicago Defender: What outcome do you expect from this event aside from beautifying the community?
Willie Williams: I would love for the event to be a piece of pride for the community. I want this to be an event where it strengthens the community and creates bonds within. I want to offer a different alternative for members to participate with each other working towards a certain goal.
Home is where the heart is. Many believe this saying only applies to the interior of where people live, however, it applies to the exterior as well. It’s important to care for surrounding neighborhoods no matter where you live. If you are looking for an opportunity to help beautify areas of the South Shore community, come out and support Willie Williams and his team. If you can’t make it to this community clean-up event, there will be another one on August 20th at 10 am that will focus on beautifying the Roseland community. The organizers are seeking volunteers for both events. For more information, contact Willie Williams at WillieWilliamsWrites@gmail.com
Liz Lampkin is a Lifestyle, Love and Relationships writer. Follow her on social media @Liz_Lampkin