History

The Brighton Park Neighborhood Council (BPNC) serves the Brighton Park community, a predominately Latino low-income community located in southwest Chicago.  BPNC's mission is to create a safer community, improve the learning environment at public schools, preserve affordable housing, provide a voice for youth, protect immigrants' rights, promote gender equity, and end all forms of violence.  BPNC was founded in 1997 after several community leaders came together to organize their neighbors in campaigns to win new resources for the community which had seen significant disinvestment and had been ignored by its elected officials. 

 

As the organization has grown, we have developed a social justice model that weaves together three threads crucial to social change and improving opportunities for our families: community-led social and economic justice policy change campaigns, community development campaigns that improve the social infrastructure, and and high quality and responsive direct services for families in need.  BPNC utilizes this innovative model to address the following five issue areas: Education Justice, Healthcare Justice, Comprehensive Immigration Reform, Violence Prevention, and Economic Justice. 

 

BPNC was founded to achieve three goals: 1) to develop and train community residents as grassroots leaders to lead campaigns for neighborhood improvement and development; 2) to develop the social service infrastructure to address the needs of the community; and 3) to build community by bringing together leaders and institutions from throughout the neighborhood. Our model engages low-income and immigrant Latino community members who are most affected by the lack of access to healthcare, public education funding inequities, immigration reform, and economic injustice. Through their individual experience of facing economic and racial injustice, these individuals become leaders when their role pivots from social service client to community leader.

 

We believe that it is essential to engage grassroots leaders who are personally impacted by economic and racial injustice in the strategy development and organizational decision-making.  Our model engages low-income and immigrant Latino community members who are most affected by the lack of access to healthcare, public education funding inequities, immigration reform, and economic injustice. Through their individual experience of facing economic and racial injustice, these individuals become leaders when their role pivots from social service client to community leader who can make a statement and facilitate real change in their community and see improvements in issues their community is facing.

 

BPNC organizes campaigns and social services that address a range of community issues, including: economic justice issues, education justice issues, school-based resources and full-service community schools, gang and domestic violence, healthcare justice and quality healthcare for all, the need to rejuvenate our community’s park and green space, and the need for comprehensive immigration reform. BPNC organizes campaigns to win educational equity for neighborhood public schools, win health insurance for undocumented adults in the state of Illinois who currently are not covered under Medicaid, Medicare, or through subsidies on the insurance exchange/marketplace, organize immigrant students and parents in state and national campaigns for comprehensive immigration reform, increase resources and organizational capacity for DAPA and DACA access, and win progressive revenue solution to Illinois’ budget crisis through the Grassroots Collaborative and Responsible Budget Coalition.

 

BPNC is a member of all of the major policy change coalitions moving issues important to low income communities of color throughout Chicago and Illinois. These coalitions engage low-income Latino youth and families in campaigns to improve the economic opportunity for their community, build resources for their public schools, increase health and wellness resources and policies in their community, work towards comprehensive immigration reform, and decrease violence in all of its forms. These coalitions and networks include:  The National Council of La Raza, The Grassroots Collaborative, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, The Illinois Federation for Community Schools, ACT Now, The Education Acuerdo and The Housing Acuerdo convened by the Latino Policy Forum, Bright Futures Coalition, Alliance to Reclaim our Schools, Alliance for Educational Justice, Healthy Illinois Coalition, Raise Chicago Coalition, and the Responsible Budget Coalition.