The Sankofa Wellness Village
Looking Back to Move West Garfield Park Forward
“When ‘I’ is replaced with ‘We”, even illness becomes wellness.”
—El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz
Why a wellness village?
We’re just miles from downtown Chicago, but West Garfield Park residents have lifespans that are typically 13 years shorter than people who live in the Loop. We know that this life expectancy gap is driven by disinvestment, institutional racism and historical inequities that result in chronic stress and shortens—our lives.
The Garfield Park Rite to Wellness Collaborative (GPRWC) asked itself and members of the community to imagine, “What would we do if we were granted 13 more years of life?” After years of planning and community engagement, this vision now has a name: the Sankofa Wellness Village (SWV).
What is the Sankofa Wellness Village?
The Sankofa Wellness Village consists of interconnected capital and social investments along the Madison Pulaski commercial corridor that will create opportunities for West Garfield Park residents of all ages to have access to health, wellness and recreation services, along with finance, entrepreneur support, business development, and access to healthy food and the arts. This walkable “village” will connect the Madison-Pulaski corridor with other new public and private investments - such as Garfield Park Community Plaza and Outdoor Roller Rink, and the New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church Campus.
The Wellness Village will start with four anchor projects:
The Sankofa Wellness Center is the literal center of the Sankofa Wellness Village, where individuals and families will access:
The MAAFA Center for Arts & Activism (the ‘MAC’) is the heart and headquarters of the MAAFA Redemption Project, nurturing and amplifying the artistic expressions and talents of West Garfield Park residents. The MAC will offer:
The K is a social innovation hub that supports the economic revitalization and financial well-being of Garfield Park. The K achieves this by supporting resident-owned businesses in their pursuit to develop, own, and occupy real estate along the Madison & Pulaski Commercial Corridors, and providing coworking, private, short-term and shared working space and event space to rent. The K will offer:
The Community Grocery Initiative (CGI) is a community-led effort to bring new grocers and healthy food and nutrition options to West Garfield Park as a central component of Black Culture Wellness. The CGI is led by the GPRWC and West Side United and is tasked to bring new grocery and food options to the residents of West Garfield Park through ongoing community planning, engagement and shared accountability. The CGI ensures that community voice, self-determination and needs around food options in West Garfield Park will drive the decision making process with the city and the grocery providers.
Serving the residents of West Garfield Park
The Village will serve the more than 17,000 residents of West Garfield Park and the surrounding communities. A quick look at the social determinants of health for residents of West Garfield Park demonstrate the need for the village.
The time is now–
building on momentum
The time to create the Wellness Village is now. In addition to addressing the health and wellness needs of the community, the Wellness Village will build on the recent interest and investment in the West Garfield Park community, and the creation of an anchor organization to lead community development - the GPRWC.
Planning efforts underway include
Recent investment includes:
Impact will be
Together the four projects have complementary approaches and independent activities that result in intertwined, overarching outcomes and the initiative’s collective impact in West Garfield Park. Some specific examples include:
Planning efforts underway include
The team who can build the village is at the table
The vision for the Village comes from the residents of West Garfield Park. More than 20 organizations have a role in developing the Wellness Village.
Village leadership: Garfield Park Rite to Wellness Collaborative.
The Sankofa Wellness Center: RUSH University System for Health, Erie Health Center, YMCA of Metro Chicago, West Side United, The Leaders Network Credit Union (Leaders Network), the Community Builders, GPRWC.
The MAAFA Center for Arts & Activism (the ‘MAC’): New Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church, MAAFA Redemption Project.
The K: TRUDelta Real Estate Company, Project Forward, Fathers Who Care.
The Community Grocer Initiative: GPRWC, West Side United, Yellow Banana
It takes a village to build the Village.
Please contact us at 773.417.4373
or e-mail us at:
to find out how you can get involved in helping build the Sankofa Wellness Village.