Do you care about climate change? Affordable housing? Racial and social equity? MUSE certainly does, and we also care about how the three intersect. And even though these subjects are interrelated, too often they are siloed and discussed separately, even as all the data points that climate impacts will have a disproportionate impact on people who are either low income, Black or persons of color, or both.
Thus, we are excited to be helping the City of Evanston bring these subjects together for what may be the first time in the Chicago region. We’ve been tasked with conducting outreach to help develop a pilot program to protect housing affordability while retrofitting some of the city’s housing to be more energy efficient and more resilient to climate impacts. Working with the city, CNT, and many other project partners we have been working behind the scenes and eager to invite Evanstonians to share their views and input about how these subjects impact their lives and their neighbors.
To kick-off the public-facing portion of this project, MUSE planned a movie screening of COOKED: Survival by Zip Code, a documentary showing how the 1995 Chicago heat wave was made worse by racial inequality. After the screening, City of Evanston Chief Sustainability and Resilience Officer Kumar Jensen moderated a panel of local equity leaders including Jane Grover of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency of Planning, Tiffany McDowell of YWCA Evanstonn/Northshore, and Reverend Deborah Y. Scoot of Ebenezer AME Church. MUSE also developed surveys for residents to share thoughts on the subject, plus fliers and social media to publicize the event.
Over 60 residents of all ages and backgrounds came out to the recently renovated Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center. We had rich conversations with many, heard many questions, and learned a lot from the residents. This will be the first of several events around this work. If you live or work in Evanston, add yourself to the city’s newsletter or follow our socialmedia to stay in the know.