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Dear LSNA Supporter,                                                                                   

Whether or not you live in the Logan Square, Avondale, or Hermosa areas you have likely heard about the decrease in affordable housing, the displacement of long-time residents, or budget cuts at the neighborhood schools in LSNA’s communities. Norma Rios-Sierra and Ellen Ray live with this reality every day, and along with others involved with LSNA, they want to do something about it.

 Norma and Ellen’s roots in Logan Square go back to childhood. Norma moved to Logan Square at eight years old, and Ellen is the third generation of her family to have a home here. They both feel privileged to be able to own homes in this neighborhood, and they both see the importance of creating community that holds equity and keeps their neighbors in their homes with ample access to quality schools and commerce.

While their stories are similar, they both have different paths that led them to LSNA. After going to college and working in banking for several years, Norma decided it was time to slow down and head back to her home neighborhood. She moved into the same home her parents bought years ago in Logan Square and focused on becoming an independent artist. Ellen also left for college but was drawn back quickly after graduating to start a career in nonprofit work—like Norma, her identity is rooted here.

When Norma first moved back, she was excited to be a part of the community again and to have the opportunity to send her son to the same elementary school she attended. In 2016, she began volunteering with LSNA as a Parent Mentor, where she started to see how the political climate was causing some immigrant parents to feel unsafe in their schools—so much so, that some had even stopped sending their children to school. She knew she had to do something. Norma organized with other Parent Mentors to create the Sanctuary School/Welcoming Schools model to keep Immigration and Custom Enforcement officials out of neighborhood schools. Since then, she has been an integral part of LSNA and is currently the President on our Board of Directors.

 When Ellen returned to Logan Square, she became interested in community organizing. She looked for an organization actively working to improve the community through a social justice framework. She felt like LSNA was doing that work and wanted to be involved. She initially joined in organizing for equitable housing and deepened her role over the years—she is now the Treasurer for the Board of Directors.

Most recently, Norma and Ellen have been leaders in LSNA’s Quality of Life Plan, a five-year strategic plan that focuses on advancing justice and equity for West Logan Square and Hermosa neighborhoods, that will be released in November at www.lsna.net. It includes clear and necessary solutions to keep these areas a cultural refuge and offers our neighbors a life without displacement. Ellen, one of the earliest advocates for this plan, believes that LSNA has a successful history of building power within our communities to make lasting, positive change to the systems and structures that affect our lives. Norma believes this plan will also actively beautify the neighborhoods by way of public art. As a mosaic artist, she believes that the different pieces come together to create a beautiful whole—like our communities.

If you believe, like Norma, Ellen, and me, that everyone in Logan Square, Avondale, and Hermosa deserves a healthy and supportive community, that no child should worry about where they can go to school, or that no family should face displacement because they can’t afford the rent, then please make a donation to LSNA today. Thanks to a dedicated pool of individual donors, like you, LSNA has been able to develop solutions to improve our neighborhoods and keep more families here through our Quality of Life Plan. But we need help to continue our work. LSNA ensures that families can stay here through equitable housing policies and provides guidance and tools that equip LSNA youth and parent leaders to push for the changes they deem necessary in our schools and communities.

There are so many ways to give to LSNA. Your tax-deductible contribution to our annual campaign will help us to continue to create solutions to keep our community together. Your contribution can also be maximized by a challenge grant. If you are a new donor, or are returning after not contributing for two years, your gift will be doubled. You can even extend your contribution over monthly payments as a Sustaining Donor to make a difference all year long.

Thank you again for your support, and I hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

Sincerely,

LOGAN SQUARE NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION


Nancy Aardema, Executive Director

You may donate online here or with cash or check made out to Logan Square Neighborhood Association and mail it or drop it off at:

Logan Square Neighborhood Association
2840 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL 60618.   

All donations are tax-deductible.