Business Growth and Employment in Chicago's African American Neighborhoods
This symposium will highlight the ways in which investments and economic growth can be brought into Chicago’s south side neighborhoods. Sessions will focus on the strategies and resources needed to integrate neighborhood prosperity with regional development. The event marks the first anniversary of the Greater Chatham Initiative, and it is co-sponsored by the Community Development and Policy Studies division of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, the Greater Chatham Initiative and World Business Chicago.
Registration by invitation only. Please contact CDPS Events for more information.
The goal of the symposium is to discuss and highlight ways in which investments and economic growth can be brought into Chicago’s black neighborhoods. The mass media with its significant power to shape popular ideas and attitudes is one of the most important mechanisms for maintaining or changing perceptions about individuals and communities of color. This session features a scholar on (the history of) media depiction of black communities, who will provide an overview of media narratives that affect the images of African American neighborhoods in Chicago; and insights on practices and initiatives that lead to changes in black communities for the better.
The Greater Chatham has historically been at the heart of Chicago’s African American middle- and working-class community. While the Chatham neighborhood of today continues to have enormous assets – a skilled workforce, thriving business and consumer services, quality housing and amenities – it is challenged by the loss of middle-income jobs, a lagging recovery in the neighborhood housing market, and changing neighborhood demographics. In this context, local experts will speak about community change and opportunity from social activist, ethnographic and financing perspectives.
The business sector remains a viable and growing force in Greater Chatham, with an increasing number of business licenses granted to Chatham business owners, consistent with the rest of Chicago. This session features large and small employers who will highlight the opportunities, experiences and challenges of hiring workers and owning a business in Chatham and other African American neighborhoods. This session includes insights from one of the last black-owned local banks in the city of Chicago.
The potential for black businesses in black communities is yet to be fully realized. Opportunities exist to build on the existing strengths of the region’s industry clusters, to integrate small- and medium-scale local businesses, including businesses in the Greater Chatham area, in a more inclusive manner. This panel features a moderated conversation with civic leaders about the assets and resources needed to accelerate employment, increase economic growth, and connect local communities in Chicago with the region in an information-age economy.