This week, I interviewed Tina Augustus, the well-known Austin community activist and untiring advocate of block clubs as the leader of both the Austin Adams Block Club and the Block Club Association, for a story about a year-end event the clubs are hosting Saturday. 

For West Side Lives, I asked Augustus, 58, to tell me about her love affair with Austin and the greater West Side. 

On her roots 

I was born and raised on the West Side. I was born in North Lawndale and lived there up until my 20s. I then moved to East Garfield Park. And then, in 1993, my husband and I purchased a building in Austin. We moved my mom and our family here and have been here ever since — almost 30 years now.

On the rich sense of community in Austin and the West Side 

The Austin community is one-of-a-kind. For one, we have this push service on our cell phones that connects to a response team. Our response team is not just the police responding, but the community — the nonprofits, the churches, the schools and residents will respond to certain situations. 

Another thing we have going for us on the West Side is our sports associations. When I was a child in grammar school all the way into high school, schools would host different after-school programs like marching band. I was in marching band. You had schools competing against one another in all sorts of areas of specialty — whether it was in band or the arts.

It was all good fun, but that also allowed us to hone our skills and talents, and to learn life skills. 

On a memory from childhood 

I remember being able to ride my bike and go anywhere. I felt very safe. And I loved the camaraderie of the neighborhood. 

I also remember my third-grade teacher, Ms. Taylor. She was over the majorettes at Bryant Elementary School, which doesn’t exist anymore. I was a majorette all the way through 8th grade. I was a flag twirler with them. We had our own version of the South Shore Drill Team right on the West Side.