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Custom-made cover made in Canva. Image of KOCO Organizers in background

Defending Home and Heritage: Protecting Elderly Black Condo Owners from Displacement in Chicago

In the heart of Chicago, a group of elderly Black condo owners found themselves facing an unthinkable threat: the prospect of losing their cherished homes to real estate developers. Determined to confront this injustice head-on, Thinkinc. helped the Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization (KOCO) and the Woodland Park Owners Fight Against Displacement (WPFAD) wage a fierce battle to safeguard the homes and heritage of these resilient individuals. 

Thinkinc. organized a press event that drew attention to the stories of the elderly Black condo owners. It was a platform for them to share their experiences, shedding light on the looming threat of displacement. Amidst a backdrop of uncertainty and fear, their voices rang out with unwavering determination, demanding attention and action.

For these elderly Black condo owners, the fight against gentrification transcended mere property rights; it was a battle to protect their legacy and the cultural fabric of their community. Their homes symbolized more than bricks and mortar; they were repositories of memories, heritage, and a lifetime of hard work. The quest for justice became an unyielding mission to safeguard their legacy and ensure that future generations could continue to live in the neighborhoods they call home.

KOCO Organizers defending condo owners

At the press event, the condo owners demanded a change in the condominium laws to include transparency, accountability, and increased owner involvement in condo associations. Their proposed revisions to the Condo Act in Illinois aimed to tip the scales of power back in favor of the owners, empowering them to shape the decisions that impacted their lives.

The personal stories shared during the press event laid bare the glaring inequities faced by these elderly Black condo owners. They spoke of oppressive management practices, unjust financial burdens, and essential maintenance neglected in favor of frivolous amenities. The mounting pressure to comply with exorbitant assessments pushed many to the brink of financial ruin, with their homes hanging in the balance. Urgent action was imperative to prevent their displacement and preserve their sense of security.

The press event served as a rallying cry, urging the wider community, elected officials, and compassionate individuals to stand in solidarity with the elderly Black condo owners. It was a call to action, reminding everyone that the fight against displacement was a fight for justice, equity, and the preservation of community. By amplifying their voices, the event galvanized support and initiated a powerful movement to protect their homes, heritage, and dignity.

The struggle faced by these elderly Black condo owners in Chicago touched the very core of our collective responsibility to stand up against injustice. Thinkinc., in collaboration with KOCO and WPFAD, played a crucial role in amplifying their voices and shedding light on their plight. By humanizing their experiences and demanding systemic change, we worked towards a future where all residents can enjoy the security and dignity of a home. The battle is far from over, but our commitment to defending home and heritage remains resolute. Together, we will continue to champion the rights of marginalized communities, forging a path towards a more just and inclusive society.