Ep. 55 - Organizing against Displacement with the Obama Community Benefits Agreement ft. Ashli Giles-Perkins & Ebonée Green
Play • 1 hr 32 min

BrownTown and guests discuss the effects of the future Obama Presidential Center (OPC) on Chicago's South Side, the organizing for a CBA to ensure affordable housing for area residents, as well as its relationship with healthcare, education, and police violence. Ashli and Ebonée share how they came to the Obama CBA coalition via BYP100 and breakdown what exactly a community benefits agreement is as well as its importance to the Woodlawn neighborhood, the South Side, and Chicago as a whole. Ebonée details Chicago's public housing history before David explains why his parents' journeyed from Mexico to Chicago. As the gang digs deeper into Chicago politics and organizing, they go from Obama's legacy amongst everyday Chicagoans to Mayor Lightfoot's handling of the George Floyd uprising to the re-ignited fight to divest from police and invest in Black communities.

After nearly five years since the announcement about the Center's plan to "revitalize" the South Side, the CBA coalition stands strong with growing support from across the city and the nation. "We cannot separate the COVID-19 pandemic, protections for essential workers, and defunding and abolition of police from the right that we have to stay in our neighborhoods. As the current uprisings have made clear: we must fight for investments in our communities and our futures because it will not be given to us. Housing matters. Black Lives Matter" (Obama CBA). Originally recorded July 2, 2020.

Ashli Giles-Perkins is a 2020 graduate of Loyola University Chicago School of Law and an Organizing Member of the Chicago chapter of Black Youth Project 100. Ashli attended the University of New Haven, and is originally from Connecticut, where she got her organizing start. Ashli is a founding member of Bridgeport Generation Now, Connecticut Organized for Racial Equity (CT-CORE), and served as a Bernie delegate to the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Ashli’s work centers on education equity, policy, and social justice. She has been a member of BYP100 since January 2019. She enjoys traveling, poetry, Jamaican food, trap music, dismantling systemic inequalities through organizing, and she is a fierce mixologist who owns a mobile bartending LLC.

Ebonée Green is a resident of South Shore in Chicago. She is an artist, advocate, and urban educator. Ebonée holds a BA in English from Boston College and MSEd in Education, Social Policy from Northwestern University, and was recently accepted into Harvard Graduate School's Doctor of Education Leadership program. Ebonée is Florida born but rides hard for Chicago. She is an organizing member of the Obama Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) Coalition with BYP100.

This episode is part of a multimedia, cross-platform collaboration with the Chicago Reader. Visit SoapBoxPO.com/Obama-CBA for more!



Other topics mentioned:

Follow Ashli on Instagram (personal, business) and Twitter; and Ebonée on Instagram and Twitter. Learn more about the Obama Community Benefits Agreement Coalition on their website and on Twitter! Shoutout to all the coalition members!


CREDITS: Intro music and engineering by Genta Tamashiro with audio snippets of Ashli, recorded by Dakota Sillyman at the June 11, 2020 Tent City action. Audio engineering by Genta Tamashiro. Episode photo by Maxwell Evans, Block Club Chicago.


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