Chicago Peace Fellows Map What's Working

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By Burrell Poe
Chicago Peace Fellows Coordinator

Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) lies at the heart of the work of Goldin Institute and GATHER. The Chicago Peace Fellows got some time to hear from one of the biggest proponents of the philosophy, John Zeigler, who serves at faculty for the ABCD Institute as well Director of the Steans Center at DePaul University in Chicago.

John Zeigler of DePaul University shares perspective on the Asset Based Community Development approach with the Chicago Peace Fellows Diane Latiker (left), Robin Cline, John Zeigler, Jeanette Coleman, Gloria Smith, Robert Biekman, Sokoni Karanja, and Maria Velazquez.

In his opening remarks to the Peace Fellows during the Asset Mapping workshop, he discussed several aspects of ABCD and how it is a transformational way of viewing communities.

“In mapping, you have to understand the story, every community has a story. Who’s story is a map telling?” - John Ziegler

We then got to learn about the assets that are present in the communities of the Chicago Peace Fellows. Each Chicago Peace Fellow shared an asset map of their communities and what they consider assets. The Fellows each chose many different ways of expressing their assets in the community. Many chose different assets such as churches, schools, and/or businesses. Others chose influential members of their communities and service providers. Parks and other built parts of the environment made their way to maps from Little Village to Roseland.

Diane Latiker (right) shares her asset map with the Chicago Peace Fellows.

Chicago Peace Fellow Diane Latiker shared her map and focused on the wide range of assets, including informal gathering spaces in the neighborhood. As one example, Diane shared, “Old Fashioned Donuts has been in the community for decades. I am proud that people come from around the world to eat donuts here.”

Chicago Peace Fellows Robin Cline (left), staff member Oz Ozburn, Dawn Hodges, Pamela Butts, Maria Velazquez, senior advisor Gabe Gonzalez, and Robert Biekman begin planning for a shared city-wide asset map.

The last part of the workshop was a robust conversation about how their maps intersect and what kind of information would be important for a shared asset map. They talked about ways that their organizations overlap such as similar services provided and overlapping service areas. Many talked about capturing information related to informal community leaders and informal gatherings. The Chicago Peace Fellows expressed that a shared asset map would include how they are connected to each other and how they can support one another.

“How do we capture the memories and experiences people have in communities around buildings that are not there anymore?” - Robert Beikman

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