January 15, 2022
During our 2021 Back-to-School campaign we shared an interview with Antonio Davis, founder of The Paving the Way Project. The Paving the Way Project, Inc. is a 501©3 non-profit, community-based outreach program for violence prevention and intervention. Today, we are once again spotlighting the exciting work and incredible milestones achieved by Paving the Way.
In early December, Antonio participated in an action planning group organized by the Obama Foundation. The group aimed to discuss urgent challenges, expressed needs, and available resources across Chicago city neighborhoods.
In this group, Antonio represented Washington Park which has a population of 11K and median household income of $26K. The Washington Park neighborhood is over 90% Black and maintains an almost 100 years-long legacy of Black grassroots organizing innate to that area. (Read more about the history of Washington Park in our August 2021 blog linked here.)
At the last group meeting, Antonio was surprised to be joined by President Barack Obama. Obama shared his thoughts and participated in the conversation throughout the meeting.
Reflecting on his experience, Antonio shared his own excitement on Paving the Way's Instagram:
About this past week i got to sit down with someone that has inspired me to change things in my community i got to complete a dream of mine to not only sit by him and have a conversation with our President @barackobama it was a experience i will never forget also had a chance to connect with some amazing and [great] leaders doing some amazing working around the city special shout out to @casimirxpena @thenupe_educator @obamafoundation
In the weeks following this presidential collaboration, Antonio created even more magic in the Washington Park neighborhood. He dressed up as Santa and distributed toys and gifts donated through Daymaker and other Paving the Way supporters.
Antonio shared with us that he receives requests from community members to visit children who have lost a parent in the past year to gun violence. This year, Santa visited two children, both under the age of six.
We are truly proud and excited to be partnering with Paving the Way and supporting their urgent work in the community!