LIVE FREE CHICAGO’s mission is to rebuild black communities through the power of the black church.
Our goal is to help create thriving black communities through building economic and political power, and by combating all forms of violence against the black Community. Through our model; the Body, the Ballot, and the Buck, we believe that communities can be transformed, lives can be saved, and black people will live free.
LIVE FREE CHICAGO is a local chapter of LIVE FREE USA, a national faith based organization created to organize people of color against mass incarceration and violence.
The Body: Addressing Gun Violence
Gun violence exist as a lingering problem, predominantly in black communities on the south and westside of Chicago. We acknowledge that gun violence is a symptom of poverty and oppression. Therefore, as we work to eradicate the root causes of violence in our communities, our priority is to execute strategies that will help to drastically reduce gun violence on the south and westside of Chicago. This strategy includes:
Strengthen Relationships with the Church and Community
Hosting Block Club Parties
Block by Block Organizing
Strategic and Relational Night Walks
Partnering with Local Service Providers
We believe in an intensive community approach that calls for community members at risk to be shooters or victims to be in relationship with multiple providers. This supports our belief in promoting a communal reconciliation and healing approach.
Clergy will build relationships with shooting victims, “labeled shooters”, and potential targets of violence. These people will be identified thorough community listening and partnerships. Clergy will work with other agencies to assist individuals with complete wrap around services.
The Ballot: Combating Structural Violence
We believe that our churches are the legacy institutions in our communities, with a unique platform, that has historically brought communities together for healing and justice. Through the teaching of resistance theology, our goal is to “organize the church” to combat institutional and systemic racism.
LIVE FREE CHICAGO Congregations will mobilize voters—particularly low-propensity voters—to influence policies, practices, and programs that have a direct impact on our most vulnerable communities. LIVE FREE CHICAGO pays attention to local election cycles which often have the biggest impact on issues of safety, incarceration, and criminal justice. To help educate the public, the LIVE FREE campaign produces reports and sample legislation that exemplify the types of policies and programs that will help to decriminalize people of color.
Our organizing includes:
Organizing Training for the Church and Community
Issue based campaigns led by the congregations and communities
Clusters hosting monthly community meetings
Non-violent civil disobedience and protest
The Buck: Addressing Economic Violence
“Building Healthy Communities”
LIVE FREE CHICAGO congregations use their financial resources to invest in programs and initiatives that build better access to jobs, entrepreneurship, and the alleviation of poverty and discrimination; they also divest resources from companies and programs that discriminate against vulnerable communities or help to perpetuate racial and economic injustice throughout our society. Our goals are to:
Increase the circulation of the dollar in the communities that we serve.
Partner with churches to create black businesses in the communities served.
Train entrepreneurs and assist with the creation of their business from start to finish.
Help to build the capacity of existing black businesses.
By the end of the summer, we plan to have the start-up in motion for two franchises.