Media coverage

Press releases:

Press coverage:

2020 Block the Permits Block Party
Event was coordinated by residents and many local groups, with support from many allies. ASE and the Coalition are part of the Stop General Iron Coalition. Marie Collins-Wright spoke on behalf of the Coalition.
Local groups included: SE Side Coalition to Ban Petcoke, United Neighbors of the 10th Ward, George Washington High School Student Voice Council, SE Side Educators Against General Iron, Bridges/Puentes, SE Youth Alliance, and ASE and the Coalition for a South Works CBA.



2019 #ReimagineChicago Mayoral Candidates Forum w/ Grassroots Collaborative
ASE & Coalition for a South Works CBA were co-sponsors.
Coalition leader asked candidates about supporting CBAs & ensuring living wage jobs, leading to careers.



Good Neighbor Policy- Priorities for SE Side Developments

COVID-19 hasn’t stopped construction. Plans for investment are still moving forward. There are a number of developments planned for the Southeast Side (with over 12 in the last 2 years).

Over the last year and half, the Coalition for a South Works CBA, has been holding Community Visioning Sessions to hear from residents on the southeast side, what a good neighbor policy for developers should be- what good development should look like in our communities. Residents have prioritized jobs and training, supporting local businesses/entrepreneurship, housing, environment, education, and quality of life, with an emphasis on a community voice, transparency, and accountability.

The results of these Community Visioning Sessions can be found here: SE Side Visioning Results- Good Neighbor Policy for Development 05-2020


Youth Leadership Council

What is the Youth Leadership Council?
Talented, committed, and inspiring youth between the ages of 12 and 17 participate in the Youth Leadership Council (YLC) – an intensive program in civic engagement and social justice. Participants are trained on leadership, community development, and self-empowerment, with the goal of creating an independent team that votes on and leads its own projects in the community.

What does the Youth Leadership Council Do?
With guidance, the Youth Leadership Council discusses problems in the community, and thinks out solutions to fix each problem. Teens work together to implement their vision of a solution. They may team up with community organizations, government figures, the police, and schools to create positive solutions to problems that they encounter in their everyday lives. While the youth have the final say in the project they choose to implement in the community, some examples may include:

  • Organizing community events against violence and bullying
  • Advocating for a community center, summer jobs/internships, and educational supports
  • Supporting alternatives to detentions and suspensions, such as peace circles
  • Leading anti-violence workshops in their school, community center, or church
  • Hosting public meetings between police and students/residents to improve mutual trust and communication

Why join the Youth Leadership Council?
The YLC addresses issues directly, empowers youth to plan and execute their own initiatives, and supports them with the mentoring, leadership tools, and civic engagement skills. In addition, all Youth Leadership Council participants will experience the following direct benefits:

  • Meet like-minded students who have a VOICE in the community
  • Build leadership & problem-solving skills
  • Earn credit for community service hours
  • Build your resume and/or college application
  • Create programs in the community that YOUTH want to see

For more information, or to join the Youth Leadership Council, please contact ASE at 773-221-8908.

Right photo credit: Julia Hunter,

“I’ve never been apart of a mural making project, it made me feel like my voice mattered. We got to draw out what other people think about Southsiders and got to create a real representation of who we really are.”

-Dejarae Keenan, YLC leader & Baker College Prep student


Germano Millgate Leadership Team

***UPDATE: Germano Tenants joined 4 other buildings to hold an action on May 10, 2019. Tenants WON a meeting with top HUD official Joseph Galvan, for May 31. Please see article for more info:

ASE has been working with Germano Millgate residents to address health and safety issues, since 2013.

Area asthma prevalence is 17-24%. Based on 2015 survey of Germano tenants, 52.4% of the respondents reported that at least one person in their household had asthma. 34.9% of households had asthmatic children and 34.9% had asthmatic adults. For the asthmatic population, 36.4% made at least one trip to the hospital and 41% used an inhaler 3+ times/mo.

Asthma triggers include: pests, leaking pipes, mold, and dust. Asthma exacerbators include: excessive cold in the apartments and area violence, which studies have linked to childhood asthma.

The Germano Millgate Leadership Team has been working to address health and safety issues, and reduce asthma triggers within the Germano housing complex. As a result of organizing efforts, success include:

  • $1.6 million released to fund capital improvements at Germano, including tuck pointing, and replacing 1/3 of carpets and 3 boilers in 2017.
  • Regular meetings with the owner, management, HUD, and security to address asthma triggers/ exacerbators.
  • An agreement by the owner in 2015 to use Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds to address the top 5 tenant-identified priorities for major repairs to address asthma triggers and exacerbators, including: 1) tuckpointing and weatherization, 2) fixing leaking pipes, and performing mold inspections and remediation, 3) safety issues/ reducing the incidence of violence at Germano, 4) carpet removal, and 5) ongoing maintenance.
  • 45% reduction in three asthma triggers, including pests. Results are based on comparisons between 2013 and 2015 surveys, conducted by Germano tenants.
  • 1000+ repairs done in a 4 month period between September-December 2013
  • Additionally, Germano leaders held 3 Community Safety meetings with 20+ organizations to discuss long-term solutions for area violence in 2016.

SE Jobs Pipeline

The Coalition and Jobs Pipeline stakeholders have partnered with the Southeast Jobs Collaborative to develop a southeast side jobs pipeline to connect residents to current job openings, training, and future South Works jobs.

South East Side Jobs Pipeline Partners/Allies

Alliance of the SouthEast (ASE) & Coalition for a South Works CBA Jobs Committee members
Southeast Jobs Collaborative

10th Ward Alderwoman Susan Sadlowski Garza
Black United Fund of Illinois
Bowen High School
Calumet Area Industrial Commission (CAIC)
Chicago Women in Trades
DESI- Washington Heights Workforce Center
Manufacturing Renaissance
Olive Harvey City College
St. Augustine College
Southeast Jobs Collaborative

The Jobs Committee of the Coalition for a South Works CBA created a vision of the pipeline in December 2016. We met with employers, trainers, service providers, Bowen High School, and Calumet Area Industrial Commission and formed the SE Jobs Pipeline Committee.  In December 2017, the Pipeline Committee joined with the Southeast Jobs Collaborative.

In May 2017, ASE and partners held a Career Readiness Fair with approx. 100 attendees, 11 co-sponsors, and 9 employers/trainers.

US Steel South Works Development

Lakeside 062013 1309The development of the U.S. Steel South Works site will be one of the largest taking place in the Midwest and it is the last undeveloped lakefront property in Chicago.

About the U.S. Steel South Works Site

  • Covers an area larger than twice the size of the Loop (600 acres)
  • Will be the largest local new source of jobs
  • $184 million in public funds committed to the development, including $119 million in TIF funds
  • Is estimated to be a $4 billion project. The development of the U.S. Steel site has the capability to bring massive economic development to southeast Chicago, and restore the region’s economic stability with employment opportunities, affordable housing, and increased revenue.

Coalition for a South Works CBA

The Alliance of the SouthEast coordinates a Coalition of 40+ community organizations, schools, churches, businesses, and block clubs that are working to get a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA). A CBA is a legally binding, written agreement between developer/s and members of the community. Our CBA includes provisions to ensure that the development benefits local residents and businesses in the surrounding neighborhoods, including:

  • Local hiring policies, fair wages, employment training programs, and support of MBEs/WBEs/DEBs during construction phases of development.
  • Affordable housing that is attainable to families incomes in the current, surrounding community,
  • Access to, training in, and support of technology initiatives in the Community;
  • Environmental safeguards, amenities, and transportation plans that protect human safety and local wildlife, preserve open space, maximize use of land through duration of the project, and preserve the character of arterial streets;
  • Creation of a Community Center for education and betterment of local residents; and
  • Creation of a Community Board to ensure CBA compliance through duration of Project.

We need to work together to ensure that the families that built this community can stay in this community and have access to the largest local source of jobs.

Community Survey
According to a Coalition for a South Works CBA survey of southeast side residents:

3 out of 4 respondents support a Community Benefits AgreementSupport for CBA 2013

More than half of the respondents said that the development of the U.S. Steel site should benefit the surrounding communityHow development should benefit community
Note: Respondents were allowed to choose more than one benefit to the community.

  • Average number of years that families have lived on the southeast side: 32.6years
  • 105 respondents said that someone in their household at a member of a trade union

*There were 428 respondents, which included residents from South Chicago, East Side, Calumet Heights, South Shore. Note: Respondents were allowed to choose more than one benefit to the community.

Preserving the rich history and diversity in southeast Chicago
A CBA is necessary to preserve the rich history and diversity in southeast Chicago. Many of the residents that used to work in the steel mills have stayed in the community. Many families have generations of family members that have been in the community for 20, 30, 50, or even more than 70 years. They should not be displaced as property taxes and rents increase due to the development.

The development of the U.S. Steel site would be the largest local source of jobs. Moreover, it is located on land that is currently owned by U.S. Steel, the former employer of many families in the area. Even after the steel mills closed, families stayed in the area. There must be priority given to hiring local residents for local jobs that will soon be generated by the new development.

The southeast side is unique in its diversity, which should be preserved and celebrated. It was originally settled by European immigrants first came to the area to work in the steel mills and as a result of the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. The region is also the oldest Mexican establishment in Chicago. Our Lady of Guadalupe is the oldest Mexican parish in Chicago and one of the largest, active churches with a Latino constituency on the southeast side. The southeast side also has a large African American population as well as a sizable Caribbean population.

South Chicago also has the most mom and pop stores in Chicago, an emerging green initiative with new housing and businesses, and an activist institutional base that is working to revitalize the neighborhood.

If you are interested in being added to our mailing list regarding the development of the South Works site and related upcoming events, training, or job opportunities, please fill out the form below.

GRACE: Restorative Justice on the Southeast Side

Our communities are facing an epidemic of youth incarceration and recidivism. Too many of our young people are growing up in a climate of violence, without the economic opportunities, community mentors, and training they need to thrive and grow.

That’s why the Alliance of the Southeast (ASE) and affiliated community partners have launched GRACE (Groups Responding with Another Chance and Education) a comprehensive strategy for restorative justice in the South Chicago neighborhood of the 4th Police District.

It is with the participation of the community that we hope to transform their lives, guide them to community resources, and make them leaders in their community.

GRACE is a community-integrated  intervention approach to youth sentencing to reduce recidivism and curb youth violence. GRACE intervenes with juvenile offenders with restorative justice practices, mentoring, and counseling. Cook County Juvenile Probation and Diversion Departments and 4th District Police Department will refer juvenile offenders to community service hours with ASE partners, to re-integrate them into the community, form relationships with local residents, and connect them to resources. Although ASE will take referrals for youth living anywhere in the 4th District, the GRACE program will focus on juvenile offenders living or attending school between 82nd and 95th Streets, east of South Chicago Ave.

Jail and juvenile detention centers can be traumatizing places for youth offenders. Many enter the system and find it difficult to get out. Meanwhile, studies have shown that community service and counseling sentences have dramatic effects to reduce recidivism rates for young people, while providing them with the skills, connections, mentors, and support they need to reintegrate successfully into their neighborhoods.

Through ASE’s GRACE Program for Restorative Justice, youth offenders can now be sentenced to community service with the following partner organizations:

  • Alliance of the Southeast
  • Claretian Associates
  • 10th Ward Alderwoman Susan Sadlowski Garza’s Office
  • SkyArt

This approach will affect dozens of at risk juvenile offenders per year, and reduce overall the predominance of youth violence in South Chicago.

For more information, please contact Amalia NietoGomez at 773-221-8908 or 773-800-0322.

Coalition for a South Works CBA Members

Coalition logoMembers

  • 79th/80th Essex Block Club
  • Alliance of the SouthEast (ASE)
  • Arnold Mireles Academy LSC
  • Black United Fund of Illinois (BUFI)
  • Centro de Trabajadores Unidos/ United Workers’ Center
  • Christ Bible Church Impact Ministries Committee
  • Claretian Associates
  • Coalition for Equitable Community Development (CECD)
  • Concerned Neighbors Of Crandon-Oglesby (CNOCO)
  • Crossroads Collaborative
  • Empowering South Shore
  • Environment, Transportation, Health, Open Space (ETHOS)
  • Family Rescue
  • Heartfield Chicago
  • Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference (HPKCC)
  • James H. Bowen High School
  • Jeffery Manor Community Revitalization Council
  • Metropolitan Family Services – Southeast Chicago
  • Mind Influence Attitude Inc.
  • New Sullivan Elementary School
  • Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church
  • Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church
  • Real Men Charities, Inc.
  • Southeast Environmental Task Force (SETF)
  • Trees Are Beautiful
  • United Steelworker Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR)
  • Veteran’s Park Improvement Association
  • We Mean Green Community Gardens

… and more organizations


  • United Food and Commercial Workers Local 881

Safe Zone

The Alliance of the SouthEast and partners are establishing a safe zone, or neutral zone, on 91st St between Houston and Burley, and on Burley between 89th and 92nd Streets.

The goal is to provide a safe place for children to attend school and for families to use the services on 91st Street, including the library, the YMCA, Metropolitan Family Services, and attend church. The safe zone, or neutral zone, is a zone that is free from violence from 9am-9pm.

There are nine community partners that have agreed to be Safe Havens, places where people can go if they feel threatened. The organization is committed to providing reasonable assistance to persons in distress (which may include calling police or emergency services). Safe Havens are designated with a sign in the window designating them as a safe haven, and has a picture of a street light (shown below).

Safe Haven signsafe passage sign

Ways that you can get involved:

  • Place a Safe Haven (businesses) or a Safe Passage (residents) flier in your window and call police if a child takes shelter or requests assistance.
  • Report any violence to the police. If possible, please give your information. You can make a report ANONYMOUSLY by:
    1. Calling 911 (You can request to be anonymous)
    2. Texting the word “CPD” followed by a video or your description of the crime and person committing the crime to CRIMES (274637), OR
    3. Reporting a crime online to: Community Policing E-tip:
      1. Drug activity
      2. Gang-related activity
      3. Other major crimes
  • Create a phone list/email list with your neighbors to receive neighborhood alerts and to let neighbors know about recent activity.
  • Attend meetings regarding neighborhood safety.

Community Cookout
ASE held our first Community Cookout in July 2013, celebrating the creation of a safe zone along 91st Street and along Burley St. Over 300 people attended the event, including neighborhood residents and their families and local organizations. We had games for both kids and adults, a fire engine tour for kids, and served hamburgers and hot dogs. It was one of the few times neighbors have sat on their porches.

We held our 2nd Community Block Party in 2014 on 91st and Houston, with 400+ people attending.

Kids in line for sack races

Kids waiting in line to get faces painted at the community cookout, celebrating the safe zone.

Sack races

Sack races at the community cookout.