United Neighbors of the 35th Ward is an independent political organization dedicated to amplifying and representing the voice of working families and residents of the communities in the 35th ward. We act as a counterweight to entrenched political and economic powers that for too long have operated without concern for the needs of the majority of Chicagoans.
Over the course of summer 2015, residents from Albany Park, Irving Park, Avondale, Logan Square, and Hermosa came together to develop a vision for the ward. We focused on 4 issue areas, Development, Education, Budget, and Public Safety.
Click here to read more about the process. This is an overview of that vision and will guide our work moving forward. Additionally, UN35’s Policy Committee continues to work in collaboration with allied groups to compile policy proposals that we support through campaigns and our work with elected officials. As these policy areas are developed, they are added to this page.
We believe that residents should be co-creators of the communities in which they live. Therefore, United Neighbors of the 35th Ward will work to ensure we have an inclusive, community driven and transparent public planning process that creates space for future community connections and leadership. Zoning must protect individuals and families that are established in the community, support a long-term vision for growth and development, expand health and recreation options, and incentivize responsible and responsive new businesses that enrich existing neighborhoods and local economies.
We believe that schools build the future of our democracy and that our public schools should become the educational and cultural centers of our whole community. Therefore, United Neighbors of the 35th Ward will work to ensure that our public, neighborhood schools are fully resourced to support the mental, physical, and emotional health of all their students. Teachers are valued professionals and must be supported by their administrators and the broader community as they equip students to determine and achieve their own potential. Our neighborhood schools should resist privatization, remain fully public, and invite input from their communities.
We believe that a strong community is created when all members have a shared responsibility to support all of its residents, particularly the most vulnerable. Therefore, United Neighbors of the 35th Ward will work to ensure that the investment of public funds is equitable within the ward and throughout the city, with emphasis given to youth, infrastructure, and safety net. The ward and city budgets must be transparent and open to public control, and must give priority to public benefit over private gains. New and more progressive revenue sources must be included along with reforms and efficiency measures to fully fund robust spending in support of the community.
We believe that the best way to develop safe and nurturing communities is to ensure that the basic human needs of all residents are met and to build relationships among neighbors. Therefore, United Neighbors of the 35th Ward will work to ensure a public safety system that prioritizes shared accountability and community-based peaceful conflict resolution. Other options like mental health services, substance abuse treatment, homeless shelters, and job training and placement will be supported to prevent the inappropriate and unnecessary use of the criminal justice system. Public safety workers have an important role, and they must be proactive and build relationships with residents and businesses in the neighborhoods where they work. Public safety goes beyond policing, and requires investment in well-designed infrastructure so that residents feel comfortable and secure as they move through their neighborhood.
UN 35 POLICY Platforms
All immigrants, regardless of country of origin, criminal background, religion, or documentation status, deserve the same human dignity. No human being is illegal. Our policies are adapted from partner organizations and represent the leadership of those most affected by immigration policies, especially the undocumented population.
Everyone has a right to quality housing with equitable access to infrastructure and social resources. This is essential for both individual and community development. Housing and related resources should be recognized as resources for the public good, not commodities or speculative assets, and should be controlled by the community itself.