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Common Sense Democracy In Action:
Helpful Steps for Your Neighborhood

Stand up, Speak up, and Take action
Photo by Kurt Hedlund

Steps for Creating Democratic Organization in Your Neighborhood


You are concerned about something on your block (ex. an abandoned and falling apart house). You think others are also concerned. You'd like to know how to address it. Click here to read more.
Picket Line

Street Crowd

What is the issue and how do you know it is one? Click here to read more.


The Save Our City Coalition (SOCC) adheres to three principles of organizing which it believes can result in a democratic community organization capable of addressing the political establishment in an effective and fair manner. Click here to read more.
Photo by Kurt Hedlund


Listen, observe, build relationships of trust and accountability. Click here to read more.


Bungalows "Addison & Kimball Home Depot"
    Chicago Sun-Times – November 2, 2008. Clayton was the main advisor for the Irving Park Neighbors Association (IPNA) whose activities are described in this Sun-Times expose. The IPNA was an organizing initiative of the Save Our City Coalition. The fight against the Home Depot was its highest profile cause. This article reveals much about the political machinations the Irving Park neighbors were up against, but not much about the organizing project itself. Anyone who knows about Illinois and Chicago politics will recognize the "David vs Goliath" character of the story. Click here to read more.

"The Price of Safety: How Marquette Park became the first neighborhood to raise its own taxes"
    Chicago Reader – January 24, 2002. The Marquette Park Community Association (MPCA) was an affiliate of the Southwest Parish and Neighborhood Federation. Via its extensive network of block clubs the MPCA hired its own security patrols to respond to the needs of local citizens. To sustain the program an advisory referenda was placed on the ballot which approved the creation of the neighborhood's own taxing district and governing body. Clayton was the organizer behind the MPCA anti-crime program from which the security patrols emerged and the Executive Director of the Southwest Parish and Neighborhood Federation. Dave Koraczyk was the MPCA organizer while the patrols and the taxing district were established. Click here to read more.

“Plan Buys Neighborhood Stability”
    Chicago Tribune – January 17, 1993. The Southwest Parish and Neighborhood Federation, as part of the Save Our Neighborhoods; Save Our City Coalition, was a driving force behind the innovative Guaranteed Home Equity program which successfully fought the tide of “block-busting” that plagued Chicago neighborhoods for decades. The “Home Equity” program enabled a community to guarantee home values and thereby blunt the “sell now or lose your home value” threat of classic race-bating panic peddlers. It was part of a broader real estate campaign that included “anti-solicitation” efforts in which neighborhood homeowners signed-up for lists which legally blocked real estate agents from soliciting them for the sale of their house. Clayton was the lead staff on the “anti-solicitation” effort and an integral part of the organizing effort which led to the “Home Equity” success. Click here to read more.

Report to the Center for Urban Research and Learning: Evaluation of Community Empowerment
    This report contains the analysis of an evaluation conducted by Dr. Susan Grossman and Dr. Edward Gumz of a model of community organization utilized on the northwest side of Chicago by the Save Our City Coalition (SOCC). The evaluation design was prepared with the assistance of Kimberly VanWagner and Kristen Poohl. Click here to read more.

"Majority-Based Neighborhood Organizing and Its Role in Contemporary Community Practice"
    by Susan F. Grossman, PhD and Edward J. Gumz, PhD in the Journal of Community Practice 2003, Volume 11, Number 2. This article is based on an interview with Clayton and other participants in his community organizing work. Click here to read more.

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