On Sept. 22, several coworkers and neighbors and I took part in the Austin POWER 5K run in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago. It was a sparkling fall day, and people seemed to have a great time running through the neighborhood. We ran past expansive historic homes on tree-lined streets. Kids participated, riding in strollers or running (many of them running very quickly!). Mayor Emmanuel, state Rep. Camille Lilly, state Rep. LaShawn Ford, and several aldermen were present and took part with gusto. 

Dance music filled the air, and an Austin bakery, Schweet Foods, brought delectable cheesecakes that were quickly devoured. This was a beautiful reminder of how much our nearby neighbors have to offer. We owe it to them to come out and show our support. (side note: The next time you need a birthday cake, think of Schweet Foods and visit them on Chicago Avenue in Austin!) 

There are many neighborhood 5Ks throughout the fall; in addition to Austin, neighborhood runs include Englewood, Little Village, Pilsen, and Lawndale. I am thankful that my employer (Rush University Medical Center) supports several of these runs and inspired me to get involved. At the Austin run, I noticed many of my Oak Park neighbors, in addition to residents and local dignitaries who were there. I saw people getting outdoors, having fun, and supporting this community, which certainly has struggles but also has residents of all ages working, going to school, taking public transportation, and just living their lives. I love to see so many Oak Parkers at the annual Frank Lloyd Wright races. Could we also support our Austin neighbors next year? Let’s get a big group of Oak Parkers out there to run the Austin 5K! 

Stephanie Bailey 

Oak Park resident

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