The third Peace with a Purpose Forum (PWAP) was hosted at Governors State University August 17, 2017 at 6:00 pm. The third forum was attended by over 60 community leaders, elected officials, educators, business leaders and leaders from community organizations. Hazel Crest Mayor Vernard L. Alsberry Jr. the chairperson and founder of the Peace with a Purpose forum provided the outline and objectives of the forum to the participants.

The Focus of the third Peace with a Purpose forum was to address and categorize of importance the answers from the previous two PWAP forums.

Governors State University President Elaine P. Maimon PhD provided the welcome to the University participants and detailed how important it is to have constructive dialog with citizens and stakeholders in the Chicago Southland.  President Maimon also thanked Congresswomen Robin Kelly for not only attending, but also for her participation.

The PWAP forum participants where organized in tables of eight and where given five to ten minutes to discuss and categorize each answer. The discussions were lively and each table was provided a sheet to document and present their answers to the entire group.

In closing, President Maimon thanked all of the participants and agreed to allow the GSU’s School of Public Administration to work through the answers from the PWAP forum and report back with findings of how to initiate some of the programs outlined and agreed to at the forum. Congresswomen Robin Kelly and 30th Legislative State Representative Will Davis gave their perspective of the forum and closing remarks.

Question and answers asked to be categorized in order of importance from PWAP Forum

  1. How do you feel about the U.S. Presidential election?
  • Participants expressed that they were upset but we must move forward.
  • Disappointed, but not surprised
  • We will stand together
  • Democrats moved too far to the left; neither candidate was strong.
  • It ignited people’s fears, e.g. jobs, mortgage.
  • It reminded us that people have not changed

How do you feel about the president election six months later?

  1. What are some of the barriers hindering the Southland from growth?
  • Our community hasn’t recovered from the 2008 mortgage crises
  • People are strapped financially
  • People from Chicago, who have been displaced by public housing, are moving to the
  • Suburbs
  • There are a lot of dysfunctional families living in Southland
  • Lack of a state budget
  • Some public officials are using public office for personal gains
  • There is a need for collaboration among the Southland
  • High property taxes hinder attracting businesses
  • Lack of manufacturing in Southland
  • There’s a lot of economic redlining, e.g. lack of grocery stores and other amenities
  • There’s an East I-80 vs. West I-80 mentality
  • Lack of representation on the Cook County Board
  • Need for better PACE Transportation to access Southland West
  • Schools need to present opportunities for graduates
  • Need unity
  • Youth are underutilized
  • Faith based community is also underutilized
  • There is a need for a comprehensive economic development plan
  • Elected officials must be held accountable
  • Need a business plan to bring economic development to Southland
  • Need to explore profit sharing with Big Box stores

How would you prioritize the above answers in order of importance?

How would you implement your top three choices?

  1. What types of educational and training programs exist in Southland and what type of training programs are needed that will lead to well-paying jobs/careers?
  • High tech training in manufacturing offered by School district 227 (Matteson,
  • Park Forest and Richton Park)
  • Community colleges offer training
  • American Builders Contractors (ABC)
  • Allied International Workers Union (ATWU) is training residents in Atlgeld Garden
  • UTI offers automotive training in Lisle, Illinois
  • Chicago Center for Arts and Technology (CHICAT) offers training in medical coding
  • Victory Apostolic Church Housing Rehabilitation Program
  • Moraine Valley offers auto body technology training
  • South Suburban Community Development Corp

How would you prioritize the above answers in order of importance? How would you implement your top three choices?

  1. What can we do to recapture and revitalize the housing market and housing stock in the Southland?
  • Explore lease-owned options
  • Explore community banking
  • Consider tax credit
  • Explore Peer-to-Peer/Micro Lending
  • Use land bank program to train our youth
  • Make our local officials more accountable regarding property maintenance
  • More First-Time Homebuyer Assistance Programs are needed to bring new families into
  • the community
  • Home maintenance assistance for seniors and disabled is needed
  • Hold real estate industry accountable
  • Educate homeowner associations to engage in community improvement
  • Explore eminent domain
  • Conduct Crime Free Housing classes for homeowners that rent their property

How would you prioritize the above answers in order of importance?

How would you implement your top three choices?

  1. What can we do to foster public safety in communities?
  • Improve training for officers, e.g. mental illness, sensitivity training
  • Educate community on security resources available to deter crime
  • Utilize HOAs, Community Events, Neighborhood Watch Programs, Community Policing
  • Institute parenting skills training
  • Establish active block clubs
  • Establish Phone Trees
  • Address unemployment
  • More youth programs are needed
  • Build better relationship with law enforcement
  • Develop apps to report crime anonymously

How would you prioritize the above answers in order of importance?