Stay the Demolition of 3411 West Douglas Boulevard
  • Petitioned Rahm Emanuel

This petition was delivered to:

Mayor, City of Chicago
Rahm Emanuel
Alderman, 24th Ward
Michael D. Chandler
Commissioner, Department of Buildings
Michael Merchant
Commissioner, Department of Housing and Economic Development
Andy Mooney

Stay the Demolition of 3411 West Douglas Boulevard

    1. Valerie F. Leonard
    2. Petition by

      Valerie F. Leonard

      Chicago, IL

The City of Chicago Department of Buildings has taken court action to demolish 3411 West Douglas, an historic synagogue and the former home of Friendship Baptist Church, that has hosted Martin Luther King Jr., when he lived in the North Lawndale community on Chicago's West Side. The building is not structurally sound and poses imminent danger to the local community. The current owners are not able to finance the necessary costs to stabilize and renovate the building, which exceed over $1 million.

With over 1,500 vacant lots, North Lawndale has more vacant buildings and lots than any other community in Chicago, other than Englewood, to the best of my knowledge. The result has been decreases in population, increase in blight, the creation of environments that encourage crime and general reduction in the number of historically and culturally significant buildings. When the cultural assets of a community erode, everything else falls apart. Children’s education becomes less well rounded and relevant and students’ ability to think critically and understand their roles in society decreases. The economic base becomes less diversified, providing fewer opportunities to create a sense of community pride or destinations for tourists, who, in turn would patronize local businesses.

Redeveloping this building could create an anchor for community and economic development around its heritage and culture; connect local community organizations, Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Schools, and Chicago Public Libraries; instill community pride, and create a destination for tourists. 

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Check Out These Pics From Really Boring's Flickr Stream

      Valerie F. Leonard
      Petition Organizer

      These pictures show some of the elaborate details of the building. Truly, we should do whatever we can to save this building from the wrecking ball.

    2. Reached 500 signatures
    3. We Have Added Two New Petition Targets

      Valerie F. Leonard
      Petition Organizer

      We have added Michael Merchant,Commissioner, Dept. of Buildings, and Andy Mooney, Commissioner, Dept. of Housing and Economic Development, to our list of targets.

    4. We Changed the Name of the Petition to Stay of Demolition

      Valerie F. Leonard
      Petition Organizer

      We changed the name of the petition again, to Stay the Demolition of 3411 West Douglas. It occurred to us that it may be better to have the name reflect the legal term for the process. While the term "execution" is more dramatic and gives the building a more human feel, there is a potential of giving the impression that we are using terms incorrectly.

    5. Conversation with Alderman Chandler's Chief of Stafff

      Valerie F. Leonard
      Petition Organizer

      I spoke with the Alderman's Chief of Staff. The Alderman has received all of our e-mails, and will be printing them out to use as documentation of the level of support for the project moving forward. Given the volume, he will not be responding individually.

      The Alderman has begun the process of investigating the possibilities of what can be done. He is getting files from the Dept. of Buildings. I have asked the Chief of Staff to share electronic files when she gets more detailed information, and she agreed. I let her know that I would post it when I get it. (These may be summaries)

      She said the Alderman shares our concern for the building, and does not want to see another vacant lot. Unfortunately, the building has been is disrepair for so many years, that the damage is extreme, and one wall is in danger of collapsing, according to one of the reports.

      She said that, yes the City has the authority to demolish the building, and are going through a process of soliciting contractors for

    6. Call to Action-Make 3 Calls 1/4/12 or ASAP

      Valerie F. Leonard
      Petition Organizer

      The City has the authority to demolish 3411 West Douglas at its discretion . This could be tomorrow, next week, next month, etc. We must act now. Please make 3 calls on January 4, 2012, or as soon as practical.

      Mayor Rahm Emanuel
      312-744-3300

      Alderman Michael Chandler
      773-533-2400

      Buildings Comissioner Michael Merchant
      312-743-9021

      Ask them to
      1. halt the demolition of 3411 West Douglas Boulevard
      2. acquire the building for a community cultural center or public use that will honor the rich heritage the Lawndale community from the early 1900's until the present

    7. Reached 250 signatures
    8. Lists of Petition Supporters and Comments

      Valerie F. Leonard
      Petition Organizer

      Thanks again for your support for 3411 West Douglas Boulevard in Chicago. We thought you might be interested in seeing the list of supporters and the reasons they gave for signing our petition. If you signed and your name is not on this list it is because you signed after we downloaded the files. We will provide updated lists from time to time. If there are people you know whose names are not on the list, please ask them for their support.

      Review and Sign the Petition
      http://www.change.org/petitions/mayor-city-of-chicago-stay-the-execution-of-3411-west-douglas-boulevard

      List of Supporters
      http://www.scribd.com/doc/76980784/Signature-List-1-2-12-626

      Comments from Supporters
      http://www.scribd.com/doc/76980745/Petition-Comments-1-2-12-632

    9. We Have Reached 200 Signatures!

      Valerie F. Leonard
      Petition Organizer

      Thanks for helping us reach 200 signatures--after just 4 days of the drive. We have supporters from all across the United States and several countries. Our supporters include local residents, leaders from major institutions, universities, schools and community-based organizations; a state representative, and pastors of local churches.

      I am very optimistic about our chances for success. I read in one of the local newspapers that there is someone who is considering financing rehab costs. An engineer who initially questioned my judgement for wanting to save a building that "should be demolished", has subsequently encouraged us to work with the Jewish community to develop a plan for the building that may be successfully financed.

      We need 300 more signatures. I am asking each of you to get at least 3 others to sign our petition at http://www.change.org/petitions/mayor-city-of-chicago-stay-the-execution-of-3411-west-douglas-boulevard We need at least 4 of you to be promoters.

    10. Thanks for Helping Us Reach 100 Signatures Before the New Year

      Valerie F. Leonard
      Petition Organizer

      Thanks so much for helping us reach 100 signatures before the New Year! As I write this update, we have 102 signatures. Woo-hoo! What a great way to ring in the new year. We can quadruple our impact to get 500 signatures if we can get 4 others to promote the petition within their networks. Here is a link to some ideas. http://www.change.org/info/how-to-promote-your-petition

      Here is a link to the petition. http://www.change.org/petitions/mayor-city-of-chicago-stay-the-execution-of-3411-west-douglas-boulevard

    11. Reached 100 signatures
    12. I Have Upped the Ante

      Valerie F. Leonard
      Petition Organizer

      Thank you for your support of our cause. We have 89 signatures, just 11 signatures shy of the original goal of 100 signatures by January 15, 2012. Because I know in my heart that there are more than 11 people out there willing to support our cause, I have raised the goal from 100 to 500 signatures by January 15, 2012.

      You have shown your activism by signing this petition. If you know of others who share your passion for social justice and historic preservation, please, have them sign the petition at the link below. Please note the name of the petition has changed to reflect the address of the site, rather than the name of a church congregation that formerly occupied the building.

      I am looking forward to celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday with a victory!

    13. Note from Melissa Williams

      Valerie F. Leonard
      Petition Organizer

      I received the following note from Melissa Williams, whose stepfather was the pastor of Shepherd's
      Temple, that worshiped in the building before selling it to its current owners.

      Valerie,

      As has been discussed with the news media, please refer to the 3411 Douglas building by its address rather than Shepherd's Temple, which is a separate entity, just as are all of the congregations once housed there. It appears that the removal of the exterior signage is somethings that owners since the church have failed to do. Thank you.

    14. Reached 50 signatures
    15. Here's an article that appeared in the Daily Herald December 26, 2011

      Valerie F. Leonard
      Petition Organizer

      This article summarizes the situation and ends with a glimmer of hope. Apparently, there may be some interest in providing money for renovations on the part of a private party.

    16. Reached 25 signatures
    17. Thanks for your support in our efforts to save the Shepherd's Temple Church

      Valerie F. Leonard
      Petition Organizer

      Here is a link to further information compiled by Preservation Chicago

    18. Reached 10 signatures
    19. We just started a petition to save the historic Shepherd's Temple.

      Valerie F. Leonard
      Petition Organizer

      We hope that you will continue to read our updates and share them with Facebook friends and other members of your social networks.

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

      • over 2 years ago

      Our history is our City's greatest asset. Please do not destroy this historic building.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Patrice Matthews CHICAGO, IL
      • over 2 years ago

      Iam signing this petition because we need to save some our history, and before we do any demolition we should think about what can be done to the property and give some kind of incintive to someone else who may have an idea for that property.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • FLORETTA POWELL CHICAGO, IL
      • over 2 years ago

      I'M SIGNING BECAUSE I AM SICK AND TIRED OF THE DESTRUCTION OF ALL THE HISTORICAL BUILDINGS WITH BEAUTIFUL ARCHITECTURE AND BEING REPLACED WITH A GARBAGE FILLED VACANT LOT OR SOME PLAIN BRICK AND CONCRETE STRUCTURE.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • M. dePelichy LISLE, IL
      • over 2 years ago

      I can't describe my pov better than the words of Dr. Margaret Jamal, who on or around January 12 signed this petition and said "I am signing this petition because I believe that the citizens in the community need to be able to reference a historic representation of a lasting legacy. There is far too much instability in the community that I feel contributes to the restlessness and discord. While it's presence may have been under appreciated, the destruction of this historic landmark will surely promote feelings of disparity and overall disconnection within the community.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Edith Pollock Kerr SAN JOSE, CA
      • over 2 years ago

      I am a Chicago native and believe this is a historical building, not to one or two groups of people but to the entire City of Chicago. Rehabilitating this building and making it into a community center, a place for the community to gather, to learn, to help each other would be invaluable to the community. Demolishing it will only give the community another empty lot where crime can take place & be a symbol of hopelessness instead of hope.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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