Woodlawn wants the Obama Library

To the Editor:

We are neighbors in the Woodlawn community. We need your attention to this most urgent matter. Over the course of the past 12 months, we have been excited and nervously hopeful to learn the Barack Obama Foundation is considering Jackson Park and Washington Park as potential locations for the Obama Presidential Library and Museum (OPL). We emphatically support the use of the Chicago Park District land in our neighborhood for the creation of this institution. And we need our voices on this issue to matter.

We are disappointed that the media continue to sensationalize a handful of naysayers’ comments ahead of our endless pledge of support. The opportunity to house President Obama’s legacy just blocks from our homes is of grave importance for all of our families. Please understand that we do not intend to allow special interest groups to impede the public process and devalue our community’s will. They cannot be allowed to limit our possibilities.

Undoubtedly there is much dialogue about the OPL’s ability to be a catalyst for economic development in our vulnerable neighborhood. But for us the most critical benefit is the human connection that the OPL shall provide to our inner city youth. It’s a presidential library within reach. It helps us all reaffirm to our children and young neighbors that their grandest dreams can become realities.

We feel strongly that our president’s library and museum is a wonderful asset to complement either our Jackson Park or Washington Park site. The OPL shall serve to provide focus and resources to a neighborhood park that sorely needs it. It will be a place, in the heart of Chicago’s South Side, which salutes the first African American president in the history of this country.

We are certain. We would like to allocate 22 acres of park space for this tremendous opportunity for our children and families. We stand united and enthusiastically wish to bring the Obama Presidential Library and Museum to its home on the South Side of Chicago.

Jeane Clark and Maya Hodari
on behalf of neighbors in Woodlawn Ulysses B. Blakeley, Danita Childers, George Davis, Jared Davis, Elizabeth Gardner, Lola Gray, Ursula Gordon, Brian Harris, Judith Hill, Jackie Hudson, Charemi Jones, Teresa Kilbane, Deidre McGraw, Terrence Miller, Wanda Newton, Crystal Nix, David Nuckolls, Eugene Randolph, Ulises Sanchez, Scott Schaafsma, Florence Streeter, Latisha & Paul Thomas, Linda Thomas, David Walker, and Tina Watson