When I created my first blog, Rogers Park in 1,000 Words, I hoped to bring-to-light the many issues that have been overlooked and swept under the rug in our community. I utilized photographs to show the truth regarding everything from health and public safety issues, political influences of corruption stemming from campaign donations and the destruction of our history and culture with the demolition of The Adelphi Theater, The Granada Theater, The Norshore Theater, The North Shore School and The Wisdom Bridge Theater. During a mission to save the Adelphi Theater, grassroots organization Citizens for the Adelphi Theater, were regularly solicited for bribes in the ward office and behind City Council Chambers. The people, the registered voters, the citizens of the City of Chicago have been pushed aside, and the answer we received from our Ward Boss was "What do you expect? This is City Hall".
With each and every injustice and hazard, I realized that I was not the lone voice in opposition to these tragedies. There were many others along the way, speaking for the record as citizens in Council Chambers, generating and signing petitions, and working solidly to register voters to dethrone the complacent-at-best, corrupt-at-worst, incumbent politicians.
I was soon invited to join community-building organizations including the Park Advisory Councils and the Rogers Park/West Ridge Historical Society. Assisting with organization events and fundraisers became another positive way that I could help better our community. I promoted these events on Rogers Park in 1,000 Words, and found that it lead to more awareness and participation. Upon witnessing local businesses struggling to attract local customers and clients, I founded the Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce so our community could benefit from a direct lift in our economic climate for small business owners and entrepreneurs. Starting that year, Rogers Park in 1,000 Words featured every business registered within Rogers Park in an annual online directory.
My original goal for Word 49, was to start two additional blogs, one focused on Edgewater and another focused on West Ridge. Individually, these three neighborhoods, Edgewater, Rogers Park and West Ridge are all partially located within the 49th Ward. Together, they encompass the entire boundaries of the ward. It made sense to unite our neighborhoods together.
The essence of Word 49, is "In words of the people...". I am inviting residents to represent their communities via writing updates, contributing information, photography and videos of activities in Edgewater, Rogers Park or West Ridge. This not only provides unique content for Word 49 readership, but stimulates a welcoming, inclusive, democratic approach to independent journalism.
"Together we stand for a better Rogers Park, a better Edgewater, a better West Ridge and a better 49th Ward"
- Bill Morton