We all love our neighborhood and our City for a variety of reasons. From the community events, to our beautiful tree canopy, to our small neighborhood shops, there is a lot to appreciate. However, none of these things have happened by chance. Over the decades, our neighborhoods have been home to neighborhood and community leaders who have worked countless hours to protect, preserve and enhance our neighborhood and our city as a whole.
As a councilmember, I’m honored to follow in the footsteps of pervious Council District Five representatives such as Joe Serna, Debra Ortiz and Lauren Hammond. They left big shoes to fill and I hope I’m doing my part. However, elected office is not the only way of giving back to our community. Each of our neighborhoods are home to a dedicated group of individuals who work countless hours to make their communities a better place to live work and play.
This month, I wanted to give a shout-out to a few of these community leaders for all their hard work. Michael Blair of South Oak Park for his advocacy and action, building up the SOPAC neighborhood association; Brian Ebbert and Chuck Hughes of South Land Park who are working to create the Del Rio Trail. Eric Johnson of SCNA who is shepherding Curtis Park through a major development project. Joany Titherington and Katie Valenzuela Garcia of Oak Park for all of their work creating and managing the Oak Park Farmer’s Market and neighborhood association, Martin Rosenberg for working to revive the Lawrence Park Neighborhood Association; Gloria Abernethy of Golf Course Terrace for her decades of service. Rose Cabral, Mark Harrington and Rosette Nguyen of Colonial Heights, and John, Dylan and Karla of Hollywood Park. I and our collective neighborhoods owe you a huge thank-you. Your dedication and devotion to our neighborhoods and our City, is a big part of what make this city great.
I am leaving many, many names out. To name every dedicated community leader would would take pages and pages. As a councilmember, I am thankful for the partnership I have with each of you. Together, we get things done and make our neighborhoods and city, a better place to live. To my neighbors who love our neighborhoods, but maybe have not engaged or volunteered, please don’t be shy. Dig in. This is your community too, and it takes a village.
In addition to his council duties, Jay works as an independent consultant and policy advisor on education reform and youth policy and strategies.