CHICAGO - Years after a double murder at a fast food restaurant, community members in Englewood are coming together to reclaim the neighborhood.
From terror to treasure, Englewood residents cast their insecurities about the corner of 66th and Halsted aside Saturday and danced the afternoon away.
“And they wanted to transform this ugly space into an art amusement park,” sais Asiah Butler of “RAGE” Resident Association of Englewood.
Three artists spent hours bringing vibrant colors to a building that has sat vacant since one horrible night in December of 2011.
“We have murders here quite often and actually this used to be Church’s Chicken,” said Butler.
Nearly 10 years ago, that Church’s Chicken saw a mass shooting that killed two young men and wounded five others.
“This corner was ridiculous,” said Angela Jenkins who lives in Englewood.
“You have to look around you and be careful of your surroundings and everything. It’s terrible. It’s just, only thing I could say, it’s just sad,” Jenkins said.
But on this day, Jenkins is happy as she watches her seven year old grandson play outside.
“He’s enjoying himself, painting and socializing. I’m glad that he’s really enjoying himself today,” said Jenkins.
It has been an especially tough summer with COVID-19, racial tension, and so many children being the victims of gun violence in Chicago. Jenkins says her grandson has noticed.
“We was on the el and waiting on the platform and he was like grandma I don’t wanna go,” said Jenkins.
The two walked home from the el and found this pop-up, and that’s exactly what organizers want.
“It’s always been tough. We deal with our dysfunction. We know it gets tough but you got to keep moving. You got to be resilient. You can’t let a small population take over beauty like this,” said Butler.
More pop-up parties like this are planned for Englewood. You can find out about them on social media at Ragenglewood.org.