November 5, 2008

Groups & Organizations Involved

Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO)
KOCO has been an instrument for grassroots democracy in the North Kenwood and Oakland communities for nearly forty years. Founded by religious and community leaders in the 1960’s, KOCO facilitated organizing campaigns that increased the resources and services available to families and residents. Today, KOCO continues its work as a vehicle and voice of low-income and working families.

KOCO develops new generations of African American leadership that will build stable, viable, and just communities where opportunity is not denied based on race or economic status.

Blocks Together
Blocks Together (BT) is a membership based community organizing group serving the West Humboldt Park (WHP) community on Chicago’s Westside for over 17 years. The organization organizes residents around education, housing, economic justice and youth issues. BT is firmly committed to working on issues of social justice and to empowering people in the community to make their own decisions in all areas of their life. We emphasize a social justice analysis within the framework of the organization, providing political education trainings and connecting residents to broader social justice movements.

Our members are individuals who work, worship, live, access services or go to school in WHP. Members make decisions at every level of the organization. They determine all issues to be addressed and recruit additional leaders to participate in the work of the organization. The Board of Directors is composed entirely of residents, including youth members. This is a unique position for most of our members, and BT is working to strengthen BT’s board of director’s role in leading the BT agenda.

Action Now Action Now’s mission is to organize working families and strengthen their voices on issues of racial, social and economic justice. Action Now is active on issues that include foreclosure and vacant properties, school improvement, access to health care, living wage jobs, utility costs, immigrant rights, public safety, (both antiviolence and criminal justice reform), and environmental justice.

Action Now is a member-driven organization. Our issue campaigns come out of listening to community residents through regular monthly meetings, engaging the base by going door-to-door and mobilizing all residents to take part in their community. Our leadership development includes formal leadership training and the active involvement by members in the planning, implementation and evaluation of issue campaigns.

Action Now members are committed to fight for equal rights, equal services, and equal justice for working families.

The Caucus of Rank and File Educators (CORE)
CORE is a group of dedicated teachers, retirees, Paraprofessional School Related Personnel (PSRPs), parents, community members and other champions of public education. We fight for equitable public education and hope to improve the Chicago Teacher’s Union (CTU) so that it fights both on behalf of its members and on behalf of Chicago’s students.

Parents United for Responsible Education (PURE) exists to build support for and enhance the quality of public education in the city of Chicago by informing parents about educational issues, bringing the views of parents into the decision-making process, and acting as an advocate for parents in their relationships with the school administration.

Teachers for Social Justice (TSJ)
TSJ is an organization of teachers, administrators, pre-service teachers, and other educators working in public, independent, alternative, and charter schools and universities in the Chicago area. We have come together based on our commitment to education for social justice. We are working toward classrooms and schools that are anti-racist, multicultural / multilingual, and grounded in the experiences of our students. We believe that all children should have an academically rigorous education that is both caring and critical, an education that helps students pose critical questions about society and "talk back" to the world. We share ideas and curriculum, and support each other in our work. We are also an activist organization, working to get the voices of educators into the public discussion of school policies.

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