In Pilsen, leadership and community development is an inside job. In a year-long initiative, WTTW/Chicago PBS explores the intricacies, challenges, and voices that make up the community’s rich, historic tapestry. Beginning with a 60-minute documentary and supporting digital initiative, the project gives viewers and readers an intimate look inside the Pilsen community.
The story is one of transformation and perseverance. It touches on themes such as education, faith-based activism, healthcare, housing, immigration, jobs, and the future of the neighborhood’s youth. All topics are addressed head on by those who live, breathe, and work to find solutions for these local and national issues: Pilsen’s own Mexican-American residents.
The documentary will aired locally on WTTW11 April 27, 2017 at 7:00 pm. It was also streamed live on wttw.com, and available nationally on demand through the PBS app, on pbs.org, and on PBS station websites throughout the country. The documentary was followed by a live town hall, produced in collaboration with Univision Chicago.
Beyond the documentary, the project continues in digital form at wttw.com/myneighborhood. The online platform dives deeper into the history of Pilsen’s tight knit community and how the neighborhood has changed over the years, from the shipping era propelled by the devastating Chicago Fire and convenient access to the river, to the bustling and vibrant Pilsen of today.
The website weaves together narratives from key individuals who overcame challenge and adversity to improve Pilsen’s schools, its environment, its educational and job opportunities, and the safety and well-being of its residents. The site gives visitors an intimate view into the lives of the people who drove these changes, highlighting the strategies and resources they used to make it happen.
WTTW hosted a community and partnership event in Pilsen on Thursday, April 20 at Benito Juarez Community Academy. The event served as a Pilsen community celebration and premiere of the documentary. Following the screening was a panel discussion with community leaders, including The Resurrection Project’s founder, on revitalizing neighborhoods in Pilsen and across Chicago.
The My Neighborhood: Pilsen community engagement initiative is led by WTTW, in partnership with The Resurrection Project.