Black women like Asiaha Butler are key to improving the quality of life for Black individuals and families in communities across the nation. Much like other courageous Black women of the world, Butler is an activist and community advocate working to mobilize people and resources to create change in community and economic development, civic empowerment, education and youth engagement,
It’s a Herculean task, but Butler is building an oasis in an otherwise relatively challenged landscape of Engelwood in Chicago to make the neighborhood a more productive and conducive environment for housing and education opportunities. At its peak the population in Englewood was over 97,000 people in its approximately three square miles, but the neighborhood’s population has since dropped dramatically.
The co-founder of the Resident Association of Greater Englewood’s accomplishments includes championing the Englewood Public Safety Task Force and chairing the Englewood Quality of Life Housing and Public Spaces Task Force along with countless other neighborhood development councils. She recently established a housing development company to ensure that housing development in Englewood emanates from the bottom up to avoid gentrification and displacement of established residents.
The recent recipient of the Leaders of Chicago Award from the Field Foundation for her outstanding leadership, spoke with rolling out regarding her position as a force to be reckoned with now and for years to come.
What are your responsibilities and why did you select this career?
I am the co-founder and CEO of the Resident Association of Greater Englewood. Our mission is to create tangible solutions and mobilize residents and resources to restore our community. My responsibilities include activating residents of Englewood to be the change agents of our community, while building coalitions and maintaining positive relationships with strategic partners across multiple sectors including nonprofit, public and private stakeholders. … I must say this career selected me as I served as a volunteer initially … [until] I was able to secure the necessary resources for me to become full-time.
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