October 17, 2014
Strategies for Building Inclusive Communities: A “Pen Pal” Curriculum in the Making
The Northern suburbs of Chicago are predominantly White, despite 60 years worth of housing reform. How does one encourage the development of inclusive and integrated communities in an environment like this? One thing to do is to advocate for those who face discrimination in the housing market of these affluent communities. Another, is to educate people about what factors influence the racial and socio-economic demographic of their community, in hopes of revealing disparity in access to affordable housing by neighborhood. One could also facilitate personal interaction between community members to challenge the low population density and isolation culture of most suburbs. This panelist incorporates many of these strategies and more in the development of a “pen pal” curriculum written for young adults in North Suburban Chicago. Relying on innovative and justice-based education that empowers communities to pursue inclusivity and equal opportunity, she hopes her summer project contributes to a future of effective housing reform on the North Shore of Chicago.