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Current Projects

Community-driven projects in 2022

Health, Recovery, and Mutual Aid

Volunteers wearing healthy Chicago Equity Zone t-shirts

In Chicago, the COVID-19 pandemic hit our city’s black and brown communities the hardest. But we're working hard to bring resources and recovery to the far southside.

The pandemic illustrated that the harmful legacy of redlining in Chicago, unfortunately lives on, especially in environmental justice communities. Every reported risk factor for COVID-19 can be caused or worsened by environmental racism. From air pollution to poor housing stock, exposure of industrial chemicals to lack of access to healthy food, folks living in EJ communities are more at risk. The pandemic also showed us the importance of organizing and mutual aid as we came together to support each other in challenging times.

We work to address community health concerns by connecting folks to much needed resources including personal protective equipment, vaccines, referrals to resources, health related workshops, and a space to come together in community to process the emotional impacts of the pandemic.


Find information about the next vaccine drive on our events page, and learn how you can get involved by contacting our Health Equity Organizer, Adella Bass - adella@pcrchi.org

Solar on the Southside

Solar on the southside

We are working hard to make sure far south side residents don’t get left out of the clean energy economy!

We provide community education and technical assistance to help folks access key energy efficiency and solar programs, which make houses and apartments more affordable, comfortable, and environmentally sustainable.

PCR is also leading efforts to ensure public housing residents enjoy the benefits of solar. Our community-based campaign to get the Chicago Housing Authority to commit to investing in solar was a success! Now we are working to ensure CHA makes good on their commitment to build a solar array in Altgeld Gardens and other public housing communities across Chicago. 



These projects are a great opportunity to train and employ local residents in the process as well as to pass along savings benefits to communities through new programs and other amenities. Our team is working on implementation of the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act, new state legislation that will generate more funding for and expand access to clean energy programs. 



For more information please fill out this form and we will be in touch!

Fair Economic Development

Photo courtesy of CTA

Working toward community-driven reinvestment for the far southside.

With a number of development projects coming to our neighborhood including the CTA Redline Extension and riverfront revitalization projects, PCR is working to ensure these projects benefit community members rather than displace them - and that residents are involved in each step of the process- from participating in planning and visioning sessions to securing jobs constructing and maintaining new infrastructure. We’re organizing to leverage opportunities, including historic designation of Altgeld Gardens, the City of Chicago's budget priorities for environmental justice and the far southside, and the federal Justice 40 Initiative that will secure needed resources including access to fresh food, youth programming and jobs.


A New Vision for Altgeld Gardens

Yellow wall

In 2021, our community came together to stop the demolition of the Historic C Building in Altgeld Gardens. This initial win was a huge achievement, but we’re not stopping there. PCR is now leading community visioning efforts to engage and inspire residents around what we want to see in our neighborhood - things like a grocery store, clean energy job training, youth programming, outdoor recreation and more. Through these organizing efforts as well as connecting with public and private sector stakeholders, we’re making progress toward gaining community oversight of the historic C building and attracting resources for revitalization of the building and other abandoned commercial spaces in our neighborhood. To learn more, contact courtney@pcrchi.org.

Healthy and Affordable Housing for All

Aerial

Everyone should have access to safe, healthy and affordable housing no matter where they live.

PCR works with the Chicago Housing Initiative to preserve Chicago’s existing public housing stock and expand public and affordable housing to all areas of the city. Further, we work to expand energy efficiency and building electrification in public and affordable housing. These measures improve indoor air quality, make homes more comfortable and reduce utility costs all while reducing greenhouse gas emissions to help address the climate crisis. As state lead of the Illinois Energy Efficiency for All Coalition, we help guide policy and implementation to hold utility companies, elected officials and businesses accountable to equitably expanding energy efficiency and building decarbonization for low-income residents.

If you're interested in knowing more about your rights as a tenants, or learning more about programs that can help save you money and save the planet- check out our Community and Neighborhood Aid page.


Hazel Johnson EJ Legacy

Hazel Johnson presentation

Rep. Bobby Rush introduced legislation to honor the work of Hazel Johnson and uplift her legacy. Such recognition can help highlight environmental justice struggles happening across the U.S. today and create more opportunities to hold polluters accountable to their community impacts.

Call your congressional representative today and urge them to co-sponsor the following legislation:

H.Res. 79 designates the month of April each year as Hazel M. Johnson Environmental Justice Month

H.R. 673 directs the Postmaster General to issue a commemorative postage stamp in honor of Ms. Johnson.

H.R. 674, the Hazel M. Johnson Congressional Gold Medal Act, would posthumously present Ms. Johnson with a Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of her achievements and contributions to the environmental justice movement.

Click here for more information

Past Programs + Impact

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C building

Saving the Historic C Building

In 2021, PCR successfully stopped Chicago Public Schools from its planned demolition of the historic C building at Altgeld Gardens. Staff and advocates educated city officials on the importance and historical significance of the building (Altgeld’s first school) as well as Altgeld Gardens as whole, given the legacy of PCR’s founder, Hazel Johnson. This work contributed to the decision by the City of Chicago Commission on Landmarks to vote in favor of Altgeld’s registered historic landmark status.

Shared Air2

Shared Air/​Shared Action

PCR recruited and trained a dozen citizen scientists to operate low-cost air monitoring equipment, conduct air monitoring and analyze the data. Empowered with new skills and trusted information. Knowledge gained on this project enabled PCR to be on a more level playing field with the City when discussing issues within the community related to air quality.

AOU journey trailer

Historic Health Study

PCR worked with University of Chicago researchers to recruit and train 15 community ambassadors who educated and enrolled residents into two health studies, which will result in a better understanding environmental factors on public health and create long-term care solutions to meet patients’ specific needs. The ambassadors enrolled more than 800 people in these studies to help them better understand their health, and make connections between environmental pollution, health disparities, and EJ advocacy work.

Home upgrades

Expanding Energy Efficiency for Low-Income Residents

PCR staff participated in months-long negotiations with Illinois utility companies over their 4-year plans. This was the first time in our state’s history that environmental justice groups participated in negotiations. And the outcomes reflect our priorities. We pushed for the plans to have greater emphasis than on equity, affordability, and programs serving under-resourced, low-income communities. In September 2021, the Illinois Commerce Commissions approved the plans, which included significantly expanded low-income and multifamily program budgets - about a $50 million increase across all four utilities, health and safety dollars to help address residential issues that can prevent energy efficiency work from being completed, stronger requirements for workforce diversity, and better coordination between energy efficiency, bill assistance, weatherization, and solar programs to help reduce barriers to enrollment and participation.

RF100

Clean Energy Chicago

PCR served on the leadership team for the Ready for 100 Coalition, which created a robust and successful campaign to move Chicago toward a 100% clean energy future. In April 2019, the city council passed a resolution to power all of Chicago’s buildings with clean and renewable energy by 2035. The resolution specifically calls out the historic leadership of environmental justice communities across Chicago and PCR-founder Hazel Johnson’s trailblazing EJ work in Chicago and beyond. In 2020 and 2021, PCR engaged hundreds of residents in 5 events and listening sessions to get community feedback on the best ways to reach this comprehensive goal. In 2021, PCR was invited to join the city’s decarbonization taskforce, and the city’s Environmental Equity Working Group to advise Mayor Lightfoot on how best to transition municipal buildings to clean energy in a just and equitable way.

Solar Training Photo Credit Lauren Robinson

Solar Job Training

PCR created a solar job training curriculum for Chicago Housing Authority and partnered with International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers to train 25 residents, helping them access the benefits of Illinois’ growing clean energy economy.

Lobby day

Climate and Equitable Jobs Act

PCR held more than 25 events, educated more than 1,500 people and mobilized 400 residents and our local elected officials in town hall events, trips to Springfield and in-district meetings in support of the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act, which was signed into law September 2021. . Cheryl Johnson was heavily involved in drafting the workforce equity provisions of the bills, based on PCR’s expertise. The legislation creates the groundwork for a Just Transition for Illinois, phases out coal and natural gas in EJ communities and brings the promise of new jobs in solar and wind with emphasis for people of color.

Support Our Projects

The work for justice, equity and freedom takes all of us! There are many ways to lend a hand. From artists to researchers, event planners to technical experts, our partners and volunteers bring a wide range of gifts and interests. Join us today!

Partner with Us

Interested in working with us or want to know more about how to get involved? Let us know. We can't wait to hear from you.

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