Aug 24th 2017

Chicago’s Southeast Side residents are facing major changes with the impending development of the Obama Presidential Library and a potential PGA-level golf course. As a result, community members are navigating the benefits and drawbacks of these enterprises. But how do people organize around accurate information? This week’s Public Newsroom features South Shore resident Val Free who is organizing block clubs to do just that.

Free is a dynamic community activist whose work, history and achievements reflect her passion for building strong communities, especially in challenged low and moderate income neighborhoods with Black and Brown populations.

Currently, she is working in South Shore as the Executive Director of The Planning Coalition (, a non-profit organization. Its mission is to build collaborations, communication, and synergy between local organizations, institutions, businesses, homeowners, and residents, engaging them to work together on programs and policies that lift and revitalizing that community.

Free will present the Planning Coalition’s methods and trainings at this week’s Public Newsroom. We’ll have a robust conversation on how stabilizing neighborhoods can tackle local issues. Attendees will also participate in a design thinking activity around power structures and resources in their own neighborhoods.

Our weekly #PublicNewsroom workshop series is always free and always open to the public thanks to you support. Youth and communities interested in stotyetlling, media, art and civic engagement are encouraged to attend.

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