Restorative Justice & Community Building
We build relationships to rebuild our community.
Before our Peace House opened, many of our neighbors didn’t know each other’s names. One of our neighbors and community elders, Ms. Ora, only went to work and came back home. She was terrified of being present in the neighborhood because of the constant violence. She was scared to be at home because it was often broken into by the guys on the block. After the Peace House opened, people had the opportunity to interact and connect face to face. They not only got to know one another, but they became invested in one another. Now Ms. Ora makes Sunday dinners for the guys on the block, and they look out for her like family.
Restorative justice practices work to bring the broadest definition of community together to heal and connect. We do it through a variety of means, including monthly peace circles, community dinners, support groups, and meetings. All of these efforts allow us to see each other as what we really are — humans. Finding common ground and doing critical work together heals community wounds and creates opportunities for collective action.
Chi-Rise Police-Community Relationship Building
Facilitating discussion and healing between community members and police.
Community is more than our residents. We learned the depth of problems between our neighbors and police when we invited the 7th district to our first summer camp for roll call. When the police showed up, our kids burst into tears. Their only experience of law enforcement had been one of loss. When cops showed up, someone they loved got taken away.
This started of our police-community healing. Our monthly healing circles and neighborhood celebrations are beginning to create a relationship where we see each other as people. Police officers now get out of their cars to come visit the Peace House. and say hello. Our kids ask police officers to play basketball and double dutch with them. We still have a long journey to bridge the divide and build a community that is safe and whole. But we are getting there—day by day—on the path to peace.
Providing a support system for women and mothers to meet their goals.
Weekly peer-led groups work to bridge the gap between who individuals are today and the person they know they can be. Guided work helps community residents articulate goals and navigate individual struggles. In partnership with EarthHeart Foundation, our Women’s Group meets at our Peace House every Thursday at noon. Each session includes discussion, food, and creative expression activities.
Community Building Events
Connecting people of all ages to share and grow together.
From impromptu hugs at the Peace House to favorite annual events, we bring people together. Community is the heart of all the work we do. Monthly events include holiday celebrations, educational workshops, and community meals.
Every year hundreds of children are sponsored for a merrier Christmas and several hundred residents join together for a Thanksgiving feast. Every September we host Peace Fest, a block party featuring vendors and organizations. health education, fun and food, inspirational speakers, a basketball tournament and more.
Find all our programs and events on the I Grow Chicago Program Calendar
It takes one seed, one step, one chance to change a person’s life. And one dollar can go a long way in helping us to make that happen.