True need for solidarity

Dear community, This is a true call for support, for solidarity with Riverbank Neighbors and Waters Garden, because the ability of the community to protect Waters Garden from destruction, the ability for Pete Leki to continue to take the next generation of students to the lake, the forest, the river, the garden, and to learn to be intelligent and strong forces for a healthy future for themselves on this planet, all of this work is under true threat, true peril.

Chicago Public Schools have destroyed parts of the garden time and again. The community has had to rise up over and over, to protect the garden, stealing our family and work time.

The Waters Ecology and Riverbank Neighbors community are intertwined and have shared common communities, common organizers, shared shovels and work ethics. We both are advocates for justice, environmental and social justice. We are activists, advocating for clean water (the river/lake), clean air (solidarity/hunger strike with General Iron protestors), clean land (in so many ways), and for protection and support for those of us in need, disempowered by the forces that be.

There isn’t time to fully explain the present peril. Envision the best of the riverbank and waters community and then envision our last steward gone, replaced by a low-paid part time contractor employed and controlled by CPS. If you want to take action, here are some ideas:

  1. Pete Leki invites you to the garden this morning 10-12. Please email him if you can come early or on time and help set up. PeteLekisan@gmail.com
  2. Write a letter of support. Or at least, quickly email that you are looking for ways to come together.
  3. Make a note to read the news coming your way from Pete in coming days.

It’s exhausting to fight these battles. But, if we shy away, what is good will be left unprotected. I ask Riverbank Neighbors far and wide, and long out of touch, please write to Pete. Let him know you are there. This isn’t just about him and what he does, it’s about what he enables the community to do at the Riverbank and in the places where he is one of the last stewards standing.

~from other stewards of the Riverbank

Election advocacy

Dear Neighbors, I’m putting Election day on our google calendar.

I’m inviting you all to do the same. Actually, as some of you know, we’ve got quite a few people in the neighborhood who’ve spent most of their lives volunteering for campaigns, so they would advise us to reflect on our commitment to having a good result in the next election .. how much does it matter? Would you like to join a group that is working together to make a difference? There are many good organizations to join, working for causes you believe in, of course.

People who work on campaigns and advocacy spend time in weeks and months before elections, making phone calls, going door to door, and working on elections. Maybe some of you would like to share your experiences. I’d like to find a way to share your stories. Please let me know. Jules

Event-Summer Solstice Beach bike ride June 21 Tues 6pm or meet us at Montrose Beach at 7pm

Dear neighbors, for 20+ years, the Riverbank Neighbors community has celebrated the Summer Solstice. It’s an event to celebrate the work, the beauty of nature, to share news of births and passings, and to welcome new community members. This year, we’re going to the beach and you’re invited.

If you would like to bike with us, please gather at Berteau at 6pm. There’s a group of us who do this often, even on hot days. It takes about 25 minutes at a gentle pace. We’ll follow the most calm bike route possible, kids on sidewalks with adult guides if the group is small. If the group is large and we have enough experienced bike leaders, it will be similar to a kidical mass ride. We ask all riders to only be positive and kind and wave or ring bells and say “thank you” to cars who kindly (or impatiently) wait for the bikes to pass. We will be biking all the way to the lake and back (with ~ 60-90 min of beach time in between) We’ll probably have kids with us, but please only bring kids with who have biked that distance before and bring plenty of water, extra to use to cool off. We have several 8 and 10 years olds who do it often, but it’s a hot day. We biked it yesterday with kids, not problem, so just bring water, and bring bike lights or reflective vests for the ride home.

Those who don’t want to bike are invited to join us at the beach at 7.. maybe by the bus or carpool. We’ll mark our spot on the beach with the big kite-like pinwheel that we often have had up at events in the past, so you can find us, unless the wind is too strong, in which case, we’ll stick near one of the lifeguard stations to the south side of Montrose Beach.

Suggested items to pack: beach blanket or towel, sunglasses for wind, drinks and/or nut-free food (there’s also “The Dock” restaurant at the beach or hot dog stands, of course), kites, toys for kids to build sand castles. ** bike lights and/or reflective items. If you don’t have them, it’s a good day to visit a local bike store.

Check back here for updates. Hope to see you there.

Jules

Upcoming Events…

Wed, June 15 Honorary Bike Ride- Lincoln Square More info here https://fb.me/e/2uaPmL3ly

Sat, June 18 Welles Park Eco-Fest more info here

Fri, June 17 6-7 Seeds and Weeds along the riverbank with Jules. Join at Berteau. pleasant, light work, peaceful time to enjoy nature and be with community. weather dependent. check the calendar, email, or facebook page for updates.

Hold the date.  Tues, June 21 Solstice. Different than the past. Activism for bike safety. Ceremony to recognize heroes in our midst. Ceremony to commemorate those lost to cars going too fast and toxic car culture. We’ll learn about ways to save lives, learn some songs, learn some native flowers in bloom.  and we’ll see old and new friends. Please email if you’d like to help organize or do setup/tear down for our solstice gathering. Perhaps we’ll go one a RBN bike ride.  Other ideas are being considered, weather dependent.

Please check for updates on our Riverbank Neighbor calendar.

Eco-Fest: see you there


Eco-Fest Welles Park
June 18 from 10 AM to 2 PM


The Green Council, Riverbank Neighbors, Waters Garden, and many other local environmental groups will be at the eco-fest. Please mark your calendars and come on by and say hello.


Gratitude to the 47th Ward’s youth and green councils, Alderman Matt Martin, Andi Aguila, the 47th Ward’s director of Small Business Affairs, the Welles Park Advisory Council and all those who’ve organized the fest. (and apologies for any I’ve missed, please let me know and I’ll amend this) Check out the website to see all the interesting things going on. We’d love to see you there! Here’s the link

Any of you who are part of Riverbank Neighbors or Waters Garden, we would love if you’d join us at our table. Hang out, make it easier and more fun! Email us to rsvp if you can join. At 10:40 we’ll be singing in the Gazebo, so arrive early for that if you’d like to join and know the songs or have a Waters student who wants to sing the songs they know well from field trips.

This is also an event where anyone wanting to do something to channel their anger and grief over the loss of three beloved precious humans from our families and communities. Two little children and one longtime neighbor, all killed by crashes on roads designed to prioritize fast cars, not human safety. We can do better. Learn more here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5aNtsWvNYKE This 8 min video is the best we could find to very very quickly open people’s mind to a whole new kind of street design, one that studies show, saves many many lives and would have saved the lives of Lily, Raffi, and Peter.
Riverbank Neighbors aims to be better advocates for safety to work for safer streets.
Please email us if you watch this video, tell us your thoughts and if you’d like to organize some bike and pedestrian and safety advocacy/education in the name of Lily, Raffi, Peter, and others taken from us too soon.

Hope to See you Saturday, June 18, Welles Park, EcoFest

Ward Night Out with Ald. Martin and the 47th Ward Green Council

💧Next month is Chicago River Month! Let’s celebrate the important work of Riverbank Neighbors, Friends of the Chicago River, and others. Join Alder Matt Martin for a drinks and discussion about environmental issues at Burning Bush Brewery.

This event is a part of a new initiative called “Ward Night Out” that brings neighborhood updates and ward services directly to neighbors. You will also have the opportunity to learn how you can get involved in environmental issues locally, and meet other neighborhoods who are committed to addressing the climate crisis.

📅 May 12 🕓 7:00pm 🔗bit.ly/riverbank47

Possible Partial Burn, weather dependent

Tomorrow, April 3, we scheduled a possible burn and workday at the River (at Berteau). The weather is “iffy” for a burn, but we will be ready if a window opens. There is plenty of other work to do, so please join us. If we do proceed with a burn, please keep children well away from the fire, so they won’t be in harms way and we won’t be worried and distracted.  The workday is scheduled from 12-2. If you can help set up, please come early (11:30, 11:45.) It might  be that the wind shift happens at 2:00, meaning that we might burn after the workday. Please stand by.

Controlled Burn notice

Dear Neighbors, in coming days, when the weather is right, Riverbank Neighbors will be conducting a controlled burn of some sections of the Riverbank at Berteau on the east side of the Chicago River.

During the burn, please stay well back and don’t distract the crew. Thank you.

A wonderful video about the much larger controlled burns conducted in the forest preserves of Illinois are is here. https://video.wttw.com/video/jay-joins-burn-crew-ai6x1p/

And another completely fantastic short video, highlighting the beautiful flowers of the region and a local photographer, Mike MacDonald is here: https://video.wttw.com/video/chicagos-best-wildflowers-v4zcuy/

These a really spectacular little film clips. Please share them with your family and your block club list. The clips show the larger effort that our work is inspired by, the North Branch Restoration Project. more to come.. https://northbranchrestoration.org/

Many thanks to all who attended our workday last weekend.

We prepped the riverbank for the coming burn, shared news, met new neighbors, had a beautiful day in the sun, and sang songs.

We also said a collective prayer (secular/non-denominational expression of intention) to protect those who are maintaining chernobyl, holding them in our hearts, hoping they could be protected and allowed to switch shifts and kept safe. We know almost everyone is very worried, but lets look to the good people, the heros, the helpers, the healers.. and the those working to keep us safe .. to keep our spirits up.

hope everyone is well. see you at the river..

jules for rbn