In keeping with ICA’s original intention for the CSLN to be a self-sustaining network, new shared leadership team members, Melanie Eckner (north), Simone Alexander (southwest), and Quilen Blackwell (south) were added to the CSLN organizing team. The team is looking forward to continuing to build the CSLN as a strong voice representing communities across Chicago.
The CSLN Shared Leadership team’s first priority is to establish a membership structure that serves the needs of the network and allows us to grow. In order to garner input on membership structures, the team developed a membership survey and coordinated an interactive panel at the April CSLN meeting.
The panelists reflected on their abundant local experience in network facilitation and featured Jen Daniels-Lake from Chicago Literacy Alliance, LeRoy Chalmers from Greater Roseland West Pullman Food Network, and ICA’s Ted Wysocki who highlighted his former experience with Chicago Association of Neighborhood Development Organizations and the National Community Reinvestment Coalition.
As the One Earth Film Festival (OEFF) grows each year, so does the participation of CSLN members and Allies. Including the ICA, four CSLN members partnered with the festival to host films and discussions centered around environmental activism. A number of individuals who participated in the 2015 Faith and Sustainability Forum and subsequent faith-based ToP training also volunteered their facilitation at sites across the city.
Looking ahead, ICA and the CSLN will act as the Midwestern site for the Integrated Network for Social Sustainability (INSS) conference in June. Members see the INSS conference as a vehicle to engage directly with residents who aren’t typically involved in sustainability.
The CSLN policy group focuses on engaging with aldermen and policymakers to create more equitable and accessible structures. This work was recently recognized by The Center for American Progress who cited the CSLN’s work in the recent publication, Resilient Midwestern Cities: Improving Equity in a Changing Climate! The report takes a close look at how 5 cities are building resilience to climate change in low-income communities and uses those case studies to make broader policy recommendations.