Safe Space Activations

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Safe Space Activations

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A Community-Driven Approach to Violence Reduction is how we create sustainable change. We need everyone onboard to increase community safety through a centralized coordination of resources and services to communities at highest risk of violence. This critical step is executed through a variety of community engagement opportunities for the City to solicit feedback from community members and be a space for resource and information sharing. 

Upcoming Events

The calendar below showcases our upcoming events. Click on individual events for details and registration links.

Past Events


Between January 2023 and December 2023, we held or supported over 150 community events to promote and improve safety.

Winter Wonderland

December 2023

The 2023 annual Winter Wonderland in Little Village was a huge success! New Life Centers, in partnership with numerous sponsors, put on a holiday event that offered gifts and hours of entertainment to all participants. Disney characters, a photo booth, DJ, Santa experience, and holiday food and beverage spread the holiday spirit among all who attended. Roughly 1,000 coats were donated and distributed to local families as people flooded in all day to partake in the joyous festivities.

Miracle on 63rd

December 2023

The CSCC worked with Branding Englewood to support a family-friendly holiday event. The event offered and a toy and coat give-away for local children, live animals, and games and activities for people of all ages. Countless Chicagoans donated to help put on this event at the recently inaugurated Englewood POP! court. The Santa-themed event was very well attended by residents who came out to celebrate the holiday season.

North Lawndale Day of Restoration

December 2023

The Community Safety Coordination Center and the North Lawndale Employment Network hosted the first Day of Restoration in response to recent mass shootings in North Lawndale. The day was an opportunity for the City, service providers, victims and survivors of violence to come together and learn about trauma and collectively work towards healing. We held workshops, peace circles, and presented on how the City is activating certain resources, programs, and support to respond to and prevent incidents of gun violence.

NL Day of Restoration

Community Feeding & Giveaway

December 2023

True Believers Community Connections once again put together a wonderful Community Feeding and Giveaway event. The Auburn Gresham community came out in numbers this year, to enjoy themselves at the annual event. Community members were treated to a free hot meal, holiday music, games and activities, and a coat and toy giveaway. PPE and care packages were also given away to those in attendance. Families took the opportunity to take pictures with famous pop-up characters, including Santa.

Strides for Peace Gun Violence Prevention Expo

November 2023

The expo brought together various community and government stakeholders in the prevention and intervention space. One of the goals of the expo is to create a space for violence prevention stakeholders to network and better understand the landscape of what violence prevention looks like in Chicago. Find more information on the Strides for Peace website: Expo – Strides for Peace which shares more context on the expo and those involved, including some stakeholders with whom we often coordinate.

strides for peace expo

Back of the Yards 5K Turkey Run

November 2023

The Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council, in conjunction with the CSCC and other sponsors, helped organize the inaugural Back of the Yards 5K Turkey Run this year. More than a 1,000 runners came out to take part in the 5K. Starting at the historic Union Stock Yard Gate, participants ran through the Stockyard Industrial Park, cheered on by fellow community members. The first 500 participants to cross the finish line received a free turkey, and all attendees enjoyed free food and music after the race. This was the first in what we hope becomes an annual tradition in the Back of the Yards neighborhood!

Telpochcalli Campus Family Movie Night

November 2023

Community members came out to enjoy a family movie night at the Saucedo/Telpochcalli Campus. Residents were encouraged to bring a chair and a warm blanket for the screening. They also enjoyed food, games, arts & crafts and prizes for best costumes. The event was held in celebration of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Community members participated in building an altar in remembrance of lost loved ones.

City Civics Day

November 2023

The Community Safety Coordination Center supported the first-ever City Civics Day, in partnership with the Department of Planning and Development. Our Chief Coordination Officer, Greg Martinez, presented a workshop "How to Start a Community Network" to present the City's efforts to increase safety. Our session featured community organizers Val Free from the Neighborhood Network and Dr. Angelique Orr from the Westside Rising, who shared their experiences of organizing for positive change and ways to build a bigger, better community. This event highlighted ways to get more involved, how to make changes, and how to build a community network. It is crucial that we all work together to empower our communities.

city civics day

Chicago Halloweek 2023

October 2023

The Community Safety Coordination Center staff coordinated and supported 10 on the Block events in our priority communities. These events featured dancing, free food, resources, giveaways, and more. CSCC staff also supported and volunteered at various community events across the south and west sides to distribute candy to ensure all youth and families can have a safe Halloween.

halloweek schedule


August 2023

Nearly 10,000 people came out to enjoy the great food, live music, and lucha libre at the annual Villapalooza! Festival this year. Since 2011, Villapalooza has worked hard to provide unique experiences for Little Village residents to hear local and international music, highlight local artists and community organizations, and explore the neighborhood's local business and community gardens. This free festival is meant to expose the Little Village community to new resources, music, cultures and opportunities. Dozens of vendors, food trucks and local organizations were on hand as well.

Community Safety Impact Summit

April 2023

On Thursday, April 27, 2023, the CSCC hosted a Community Safety Impact Summit, bringing together researchers, journalists, artists, violence prevention and mental health professionals who discussed how adults can help build safe and trusting environments for Chicago youth. Over 120 practitioners and community members attended the event and participated in conversations on culture wellness, restorative justice, and intergenerational trauma. The event highlighted best practices for working with youth on conflict resolution and included panels on narrative change, trauma-informed journalism, and behavioral change marketing.

Keynote Speakers:

  • Annabel Rocha, Author at Latino News Network
  • Andrew V. Papachristos, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology and Director of CORNERS at Northwestern 
  • Brittany Applegate, Cultural Strategy Director at Ten35
  • Claudia Rangel, Violence Prevention Networks Manager at Enlace Chicago 
  • Diana Castañeda, MA, LCPC, Director of Youth and Family Services at Community Counseling Centers of Chicago 
  • Kathy Calderon, MA, LCPC, Director of Mental Health Operations with the Chicago Department of Public Health
  • Kim Smith, Director of Programs at the University of Chicago Crime Lab
  • Mashaun Ali Hendricks, Restorative Justice Practitioner and Visual Artist
  • Theodore Crawford, Executive Director, Garfield Park Rite to Wellness Collaborative
  • Tonia Hill, Multimedia Producer at The TRiiBE
Impact Summit

2023 Annual Earth Day Clean and Green

April 2023

Each year, timed with Earth Day, the City hosts its Clean & Green Day of Service where residents, school groups and community organizations citywide team up to clean and beautify areas in their neighborhood. On April 22, 2023, the Department of Streets and Sanitation provided more than 200 volunteer groups with brooms, rakes, shovels, and bags for the citywide clean-up. To improve safety on the blocks experiencing high levels of violence, the Community Safety Coordination Center partnered with community stakeholders to clean over 20 vacant lots in Englewood, Woodlawn, Auburn Gresham, Austin, Chicago Lawn, and Garfield Park. Joining these efforts, the Illinois Department of Transportation launched initiative "Eisenhower Clean-Up" and deployed staff to clean the entire north end of California Eisenhower exit pathways. Learn more about the City's strategy to revitalize and build safer communities at

2023 clean & green

Vehicle Safety Days

February 2023

In February, we partnered with the Chicago Police Department to provide information about the City's Home and Business Protection Program (HBPP) and assist residents with the application process for GPS tracking devices. CSCC's HBPP project manager, Noel Reynoso, and event manager, Kimberley Pruitt, participated in six Vehicle Safety Days in Englewood, South Shore, Humboldt Park, West Garfield Park, South Chicago, and Auburn Gresham. Anyone interested in learning more about HBPP and applying for private security devices such as outdoor cameras, lights, and vehicle GPS trackers can visit

vehicle safety days in englewood


Between August 2021 and December 2022, we held or supported over 115 community events to promote and improve safety.

Holiday Toy Donation Drive

December 2022

The Community Safety Coordination Center staff coordinated and hosted a holiday toy drive. Staff across City departments came together to participate in the toy drive throughout the holiday season. As a result, we collected over 3,000 toys and 700 coats for kids in our priority communities. CSCC staff also supported and volunteered at 10 holiday events across the south and west sides to distribute the donated toys.

CSCC Holiday Toy Drive

blockTOBER Fall Clean-Up

October 2022

This fall clean-up asked volunteers to help clean vacant lots, parkways, and viaducts in Auburn Gresham and South Shore. The CSCC assembled teams, gathered families, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and co-workers to join the clean-up effort, partnering with community organizations and various departments, including the Chicago Department of Public Health and the Department of Streets and Sanitation (DSS). Volunteers picked various cleanup sites, DSS volunteered all cleaning materials and we collectively cleaned over 30 vacant lots, parkways, and viaducts.

BlockTober Clean-Up

Tabletop Exercises

October 2022

The Community Safety Coordination Center hosted three tabletop exercises in Back of the Yards, Auburn Gresham, and South Shore in September and October of 2022 to provide community organizations with the opportunity to analyze their organization's role in violence prevention and how it fits within the larger context of the community. Representatives from different organizations with different specialties gathered during the tabletop exercises to discuss their role before, during, and after an incident occurs, looking for opportunities on how to improve coordination, information sharing, and resource allocation. The exercises included a community- level deep dive with data into the root causes of violence, opportunity for networking and identification of immediate and long-term solutions to reduce violence in your community.

CSCC Tabletop exercise

Mental Health Skills Building

October 2022

The CSCC, in partnership with the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), hosted a fall convening for the ten cohorts who participated in the Mental Health Skills Building Trainings from May to August this summer. The goal of the convening was to provide a space for participants to reconnect with their cohort, celebrate their accomplishment in completing the training, and plan next steps in how they can utilize skills learned in the trainings to better support their organizations, and identify how they can partner with the Mental Health teams at the City.

Learn More

CSCC Mental Health Fall Convening

Low-Key Kickbacks: Saturday Edition

September 2022

As part of our summer safety plan and people-based strategy, the Community Safety Coordination Center (CSCC), in partnership with the Mayor's Office, Chicago Park District and other City departments, hosted eight Low-Key Kickbacks: Saturday Edition, on Saturdays from 6 to 9 p.m. These events are a part of Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot's Summer Kickback Series, a targeted effort to ensure youth across Chicago have access to engaging activities and necessary resources within their communities.

Learn More

Low Key Kickback Saturday Edition

Media Roundtable

August 2022

The CSCC hosted a media roundtable at the Englewood Peace Campus in August to talk with community partners and CSCC staff on lessons learned at the CSCC since marking our one year since activation. Media heard from partners involved in the Community Safety Leadership Collective who provided insight into how they are involved with and guide our work. Participants included Cecile DeMello, Executive Director at Teamwork Englewood, Teny Gross, Founder and Executive Director at the Institute for Nonviolence Chicago, Ariel DeNey Rainey, Founder of Hustle Mommies, Rob Castaneda, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Beyond the Ball, and Lisa Hampton, Director, Prevention and Intervention, Youth Services Division, with the Department of Family and Support Services.

Learn More

CSCC Media Roundtable

Block Club and Neighborhood Association Community Action Kick-Off Events

June 2022

The Community Safety Coordination Center, in partnership with the Chicago Police Department, hosted Block Club and Neighborhood Association Community Acton Kick-Off events at three City Colleges of Chicago locations during the month of June: Malcolm X College (06/09), Kennedy-King College (06/14), and Arturo Velasquez Institute (06/21). The Kick-Off events encouraged collaboration and facilitated greater engagement with City services. Leaders and members of Block Clubs and Neighborhood Associations participated in workshops to identify block-level challenges and solutions in partnership with the City and learned how to get direct access to City departments and agencies to have concerns addressed.

Block Club Event

Summer Action Summit for Youth

May 2022

The City of Chicago and the Mayor hosted a Summer Action Summit on Monday, May 23, 2022, at Malcolm X College. The goal of the Summit was to cultivate a collective understanding and approach to putting summer youth initiatives in place and to discuss violence prevention strategies aimed at youth ages 11-24. The event offered insight and acted as a catalyst regarding the City’s summer youth initiatives in communities throughout Chicago and helped identify any gaps that may exist for referral pathways and connections. Activities at the event included hosting community-level conversations regarding ways in which the City and local communities can support young people throughout the summer, and held table conversations and a group strategy session.

2022 Youth Summit

Clean and Green

April 2022

As part of the City's holistic approach to community safety, the CSCC, in partnership with the Department of Streets and Sanitation (DSS), coordinated a citywide effort to clean and green vacant lots in community areas that are highly impacted by violence. On April 23, 2022, City volunteers and community members came together to clean vacant lots in Englewood, Little Village, North Lawndale, and West Garfield Park.

Learn More

Clean and Green event April 2022

Community Safety Town Halls

April 2022

The Mayor's Office of Community Engagement in collaboration with the Community Safety Coordination Center (CSCC) hosted six Community Safety Town Halls in March and April 2022 to create an opportunity for an open dialogue between City officials and residents to both share the City's current community safety strategy and hear ideas, suggestions, and concerns directly from community members. While they were called town halls, these convenings were primarily facilitated as group discussion. At arrival, guests were randomly assigned to tables to create an opportunity for community members who may not know each other to work together and share opinions and ideas for making the community safer. In addition to taking a survey, we asked attendees at each table to work together and create a list of five programs, policies, or investments to promote public safety in our communities. This process resulted in a report that includes a summary of the community concerns shared, answers to commonly asked questions, and available resources.

Learn More

Community Safety Town Hall

Skilled Trades Career Fair for Youth

March 2022

The Skills Trades Career Fair for youth was hosted on March 22, 23 and 24th of 2022 at the McCormick Center. The goal of the event was to expose and connect 3000 CPS students, middle school and high school, with the necessary information and tools to explore a career in the skilled trades. The fair had a focus on students at risk of becoming “Opportunity Youth” post-graduation, and prioritized students who have risk criteria that indicate they are at highest risk of being involve in violence. Students had the opportunity to meet with representatives from 52 unions and skills trades and participate in hands-on activities to gain a greater understanding of the skilled trades career pathways.

Learn More

Skilled Trades Career Fair for Youth

Symposium on Trauma-Informed Response to Violence

May 2022

In March 2022, the CSCC, in partnership with CDPH, held a Symposium on Trauma-Informed Response to Violence. The Symposium addressed the intersection of Mental Health, Substance Use, and Violence, with a specific focus on increasing access to mental health and substance use services for individuals at high risk of violence. The event convened mental health, substance use, and violence prevention providers, as well as community leaders and CSCC partners who provide direct service and implement programs. Participants engaged in collective group discussions, break-out sessions, and healing exercises led by Lotus Love Spirit Healing and the Center for Healing and Justice through Sport that included harm reduction techniques, trauma-informed training, action plans for innovative service delivery models, and wellness activities to emphasize self-care.

Trauma-Informed Care Symposium