Image of the entrance of Chicago-based activist group, R.A.G.E., by Talia Wright
For Echo Magazine’s print edition, I’m exploring Chicago’s food deserts by delving into the community of Englewood. It was to be a ride-along style piece, meaning that I was searching for someone to follow around as they did their regular grocery shopping routine. I had never done a ride-along story of this magnitude before and had a handful of concerns. What if I couldn’t find a source? What if no one would allow me a peek into their daily routine? What if our schedules didn’t match up? I was stressed and thought the mere concept of delving into a community so big was like grasping at straws. I didn’t know where to start.
So, I turned to Facebook. I had done other work in Englewood on Urban Farms and sustainability, so the first thing I did was visit the Facebook page of one of the farms I had visited called Growing Home. Growing Home led me to groups like Peace House, Grow Greater Englewood and I Grow Chicago. This was my first look at how connected and big Englewood is. Make no mistake: there is no absence of passion and activism on Chicago’s southwest side.
I scrolled through tons of different pages, clicking links and following threads to more and more community organizing until finally, I stumbled upon a link to an open house for a local group of activists: R.A.G.E. (The Residents Association For a Greater Englewood).
I was elated. The meeting was happening during one of my few off days, and I knew I would have the opportunity to talk to some local organizers. I arrived at the small office-apartment right in time for introductions. The room was packed with mismatched chairs and sofas, both young and old people and the distinct, warm feeling of being around people who care. As we went around and introduced ourselves I heard stories from teachers, artists, storytellers, musicians, and farmers. Surrounded by so many people with a passion for activism, I knew that I could find my story here. It was only a matter of talking to people.