The Englewood neighborhood is often on the news for its crime. But not enough is said about the good things going on in this close-knit community. New cafes, urban gardens, murals, and community events are the result of residents working together to improve the community.
Chef Russell Moore is seen prepping in the kitchen of Dream Cafe & Grill, where he aims to serve fresh food made with ingredients bought, grown or harvested locally. As co-owner and head chef, Moore also hopes to give local kids a shot at working in the kitchen if they’re willing to learn.
Dream Cafe & Grill manager Duane Powell runs the cafe’s counter. As a longtime DJ he also selects music for customers to enjoy.
Urban gardens and farms like Eat to Live (E2L) on Princeton Avenue, making use of vacant lots, have become more commonplace in Englewood. In addition to providing greens and other food to local organizations like the Institute of Women Today, Martha Boyd (right) says E2L is focused on providing gardening education and creating a local food supply.
Englewood is home to historic buildings like the landmark South Side Masonic Temple, built in 1921 but not in operation since the mid-1980s. The building is located near 63rd and Halsted, an area which is slowly rebuilding with a relatively new Kennedy King City College campus and a Whole Foods store in the works.
Phil Sipka of Kusanya Cafe on 69th and Green Streets talks with regular customer and Kusanya board member Patricia Lee. Created by Englewood residents, Kusanya operates as a non-profit and has become a hub for arts and community activities.
Kusanya Cafe features a “leave a book, take a book” program.
Kusanya employee Jasmine Sims (left) performs with Jamaica West during a spoken word and music event called Bread & Bullets. Kusanya executive director Phil Sipka says he wants people to feel empowered and do what they love.
Grass has become overgrown where homes and businesses once stood in Englewood. The structures were demolished to make way for the Norfolk Southern rail yard expansion. The construction, which stretches across several city blocks south of Garfield Boulevard, has pushed out many residents, community activists say.
Deborah Payne stands outside of her home on 57th Street, one of a handful of residences that remain on her block following the Norfolk Southern rail yard expansion. Payne is a member of the Englewood Railroad Coalition and is committed to advocating for the rights and safety of residents who live along the railways.
Deborah Payne photographs hazardous conditions left at a vacant house on 57th Street that she said was purchased by Norfolk Southern and is scheduled to be torn down.
Youth dance group K59 performs at the first So Fresh Saturdays event of the year at Sherwood Park. Hosted by the Resident Association of Greater Englewood (R.A.G.E.), So Fresh Saturdays is a monthly summer event series that features performances from across the city.
R.A.G.E. organizers Andrea NaTay and Aysha Butler make sure everything is running smoothly at the first day of So Fresh Saturdays this year at Sherwood Park. Butler says that So Fresh Saturdays shows that there can be peaceful events in the community, particularly in the parks.
Hip-hop artist K.W.O.E. poses with kids from Englewood after his performance at So Fresh Saturdays. Aware of the influence of his music, K.W.O.E. says that if you talk about stopping the violence in the community, your music should reflect peace and unity.