West Englewood 'Peace Campus' damaged in shooting

Even in a place designed for peace, violence can invade.

Michelle Rashad — the Executive Director of "Imagine Englewood If" — says bullets broke a basketball backboard, they became lodged in a window frame, and they hit a neighbor's house last month. All of it happened on the nonprofit's Peace Campus in West Englewood.

"We are a safe haven. We are a space that nourishes and nurtures young people so that they can become our next local and global leaders. We are a beautiful place," said Rashad.

The Peace Campus offers a community garden, basketball courts, after school activities, meals for families — plus a lot more.


To keep up the support, plus repair the shooting damage and increase security, Imagine Englewood If aims to raise $45,000 in its year-end campaign.

"We want the campus to be thriving so that we can be able to offer the things that our families need," said Rashad.

They closed the campus for a couple of days after the shooting and worked with violence interrupters, but the staff remains on edge.

"Some days we're still on campus and we can hear gunfire happening the next block over, and it still makes us really nervous. So, it makes it difficult to do this work. But we know that it's necessary work because our families need the support."

Now, the staff is busy putting up holiday decorations, turning the campus into a winter wonderland.

"It's very important to show young people that we can transform spaces to be what we want them to be. It's going to be lots of decor, lots of lights, lots of beautiful memories that we'll be creating for families to celebrate the winter holidays," said Rashad.

And everyone is hoping for a season of peace.