The board of directors of the Harrison Neighborhood Association (HNA) has announced the hiring of a new executive director, Shauen V.T. Pearce. Most recently of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Shauen brings experience in civic engagement, community organizing, grassroots leadership development and nonprofit management and leadership to the position.
“As a native of South Chicago,” says Shauen, “I learned firsthand the power of united neighbors from people who ensured that each family had something to eat, fought tirelessly for all, and who celebrated each other without hesitation. I believe that we are strongest together, like oak trees connected at the roots, sustaining each other in the midst of storms.
“For a tree to be healthy (a community in our case), there must be nourishment. Racial equity, safety, and economic justice — including livable wages, affordable housing and transportation, and healthy food — are essential elements for a thriving community of residents, business owners, and public officials. When any element is out of harmony, the others are threatened, and so I have dedicated myself to living through love, encouraging self-determination, and supporting grassroots leadership.
“In the forests of our lives every tree matters, each has a purpose and holds the stories of our collective truth. I like to think of us all as birds of the same tree complete with our unique languages, traditions, struggles, and solutions. I am excited to join [HNA organizers] Claire Bergren and Kennedy Willis and grateful to gain them as colleagues.”
Claire has been a community organizer at the Harrison Neighborhood Association since the fall of 2012 and previously interned at HNA’s partner organization Redeemer Center for Life. She has worked on health initiatives, transit equity, and various special projects in the neighborhood aimed at creating stronger relationships and networks within the community. Claire is passionate about fostering leadership in residents and developing a community’s voice in order to build the power necessary to influence change within our city.
Kennedy is Harrison Neighborhood Association’s new community organizer working on issues related to transit, housing, and economic development. She hopes to bridge advocacy around each of those issues in ways that improve access and choice for the Harrison community. It is Kennedy’s hope that her work can help further enrich the community that Harrison has developed on its own for decades, and she hopes to ensure that the transit developments only help bridge the community’s access to more development opportunities.
For further information on the Harrison Neighborhood Association, visit www.hnampls.org.
Information provided by HNA.