The rural community of Pembroke Township, IL [Kankakee County], is an ecological epicenter of rare and diverse wildlife and a thriving synecology of human and nature dependency. We are part of the Grand Kankakee Marsh basin [Everglade of the North] where for centuries animal and humans migrated and flourished with rich populations, cultural heritage and traditions. Pembroke Township is home to the Potawatomi Nation and the largest concentration of Black Cowboys and Black Farmers in IL.
However, due to racism, redlining and other institutional barriers, Pembroke has experienced the highest poverty rates in the state, deeply threatening sustainable development and progress on all levels. Consequently, the community has become disenfranchised, decayed from a lack of opportunities common to average American communities, and disconnected from the rich fabric of natural wonder that has anchored its pride, progress and growth.
Our organization was forged from grass roots activism, driven by the voices and determination of residents to reclaim and direct our own land conservation and community development to make Pembroke Township a better place for all. As a Community Development Corporation [CDC], we are committed to intensify efforts to rebuild and restore our community. By engaging with local and external community leaders and organizations, we aspire to innovate and implement programs, development opportunities and ecological protections to change the condition of our underserved and protect our most sacred environment.
Utilizing the natural assets of the land and environment, we believe a green economy [ecological, agricultural and economic opportunities] will change the dynamics of the PHP community from a disparity of decay into one that is thriving, self-sufficient and productive again.
Focusing on the leadership development of the youth in Pembroke Township is a top priority of the community development process. While acknowledging the many deficits that have plagued this community, the vitality of youth is the strength of a better tomorrow. Securing and funneling resources for program development; advancing education and training activities, securing well-paying jobs, and providing a platform to serve in order to remediate and challenge these young people to become a part of their community’s solution, is an initiative that must be pursued.