- Chicago Newstips by Community Media Workshop - http://www.newstips.org -

Community portals: DREAM Act to tap dance

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Terrance Hall has a message for Mark Kirk, the state’s new U.S. Senator:  support the DREAM Act.

“Saying no to a child going to college is just terrible,” he says in a video message [2] to Kirk, who has yet to make public his stance on the bill.  “How would you feel if it was your daughter or your son in the immigrant’s shoes, and you had to vote on whether they could go to college?…

“This is a place where freedom must ring, as Martin Luther King said.  So let’s let freedom ring, and bring this country together as one.”

That’s from a story on Chicago Lawn’s new community portal [3] — one of three new websites launched through the Smart Communities Program [4] administered by LISC/Chicago [5], an effort to address the digital divide in five low-income communities with improved access to technology, local content about neighborhood news and resources, and help for local businesses.

As part of the Smart Communities initiative, more than 130 community leaders from Auburn Gresham, Chicago Lawn, and Englewood met last year on information technology issues and brainstormed ways to move forward.

This summer dozens of teens from the various communities received digital training and work experience through a digital youth summer jobs program [6].

Englewood’s new community portal [7] features an overview of good things [8] happening in “Chicago’s most notorious neighborhood.”  And there’s lots of good going on, as the website shows:  an aerobic tap dance [9] program, a resurgence of retail [10], a jazz festival [11], a men’s performance group [12], and the annual Imagine Englewood If [12] day of community involvement.

The community portal for Auburn Gresham [13] has a note about a community health survey, [14] an asset-mapping project [15] for the neighborhood, and a program that offers free computers [16] in exchange for volunteering in a computer recycling effort.

There are also links to local businesses and neighborhood blogs.

The three portals join similar sites in Pilsen [17] and Humboldt Park [18].

Here’s Terrance: