On the 1400 block of Central Avenue resides a woman that wants to change Austin for the better?”and she’ll do it block by block if she has to.
Eula Williams says she is on a mission. Williams, a longtime Austin resident, who describes herself as “over 60,” feels that the Austin community needs more unity.
Her goal is to organize the surrounding Austin area wards and block clubs into a larger unit for networking and community building.
“The wards and block clubs should be connected so everyone can know what’s going on and be aware of the different opportunities in the community, such as odd jobs, housing, police/cap meetings, and youth and senior citizens activities,” said Williams.
Williams has already shown herself as a community activist. She and fellow resident Julia Towns, whom Williams calls her “right arm,” fought in 1999 to get the Central Avenue Bridge, located on the 1700 block of Central Avenue, repaired.
A small group of residents formed, meeting at Williams’s house weekly to call officials and plan trips downtown to City Hall to fight for needed repairs.
“Everybody knew how bad the bridge was and we needed a change,” Williams said. “The problem was we didn’t know if the bridge was considered in the 37th ward or the 29th ward, and that caused some confusion. That is another reason why wards have got to be organized.”
After a year of non-stop calling and visiting City Hall, a contract was signed and the repairs on the bridge began. Although they were happy that they won the battle, they felt as though they lost the war due to the false promises from the city regarding community members being hired as workers, as well as the use of minorities to work on the bridge.
Instead, they found out that only four out of 49 black workers were employed to work on the bridge, and non were from the Austin community, according to Williams.
After seeing that there were power in numbers, Williams founded a non-profit group, Grass Roots Coalition for Change.
“I get help from my block club and also from Congressman Danny K. Davis. He gives great advice and is always open for a change in the Austin area and Chicago?”period,” she said.
A resident of Austin for more than 20 years, Williams also feels Austin needs some kind of pick-me-up, something with a youthful twist that can hold and grab everyone’s attention.
“I feel that we need better education, youth-related and senior citizens activities, and just resources for everybody,” she said. “Everybody needs somebody down the line. Also we need some better food service in the Austin area.”
“By organizing the block clubs and wards we can make a better and safer place for us all,” Williams added. “We can start off with Austin and then eventually target all of Chicago. Newsletters should go around informing the members of the community on the upcoming events and other important information.”
Her daughter Jessica added with a smile: “My mother has always tried to make a change. She even ran for state representative, and she is just great.”
Williams’s daughter also agrees with unifying Austin.
“Austin needs a special event coordinator to bring some excitement in, and if we get together by wards, we can make things like that happen.”
For more information on Eula Williams or the Grass Root Coalition for Change, call 773/637-8787