#MemberMondays – Spotlight on Cordell Longstreath

Posted: June 25, 2018 in Uncategorized

So Fresh Saturday to date. We are proud to feature Cordell Longstreath for #MemberMondays!

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Cordell Longstreath, 29,  hasn’t been a R.A.G.E. member for a year yet but has already become one of our most active members! Since he joined, Cordell has been to all of our bi-monthly Members’ Only and Englewood Village Meetings as well as every So Fresh Saturday in 2018 to date.   Cordell admits he loves the delicious food at R.A.G.E.’s meetings but he says the true reason he keeps returning is because the meetings give him a sense of pride. “Seeing Black people care about their community when the news and outsiders don’t think that, is really inspirational,” says Cordell. That is also the exact reason our annual So Fresh Saturday, summer, fun festival series is his favorite. “So Fresh Saturday is powerful because it’s the perfect platform to celebrate group economics – people accessing resources while enjoying free food, games, and music,” says Cordell.

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Cordell at City Bureau’s Documenters Summit earlier this year.

Cordell is a strong believer in the practice of Group Economics which, is defined as creating and exchanging resources (e.g., currency, talents, gifts, skills, goods and services) that a group deems valuable amongst another. Cordell’s personal life journey has allowed him to experience Group Economics in practice. He has eight siblings and grew up in the Englewood, Woodlawn and Chatham neighborhoods as a young child. He was a Jesse White tumbler and a proud “bucket boy” until  1997 when his mother decided to relocate their family to Dayton, Ohio in search of  peace from the life of gangs and crime her family was deeply involved in. Unfortunately, after relocating, his mother struggled with drug addiction which, led Cordell and his siblings to enter into Foster care when he was 12 years old. Within a year, the Longstreath family adopted him and three of his siblings. They moved again to start a vastly different life in their new home on a farm in the rural, South-West Ohio town of Urbana, Ohio.

Cordell was definitely culture shocked but he appreciated learning how to tend a farm with over 100 chickens, pigs, goats, and a huge garden. He also learned carpentry while working at his adoptive Dad’s construction company for five years. In school, Cordell got involved in wrestling and excelled. He even became Ohio’s State Wrestling Champ in 2007, earning a full-ride scholarship to Eastern Michigan University. In college, he cultivated his interest in anthropology and environmentalism and worked for the International Alliance for Hope and Clean Water Action and Environment organizations during his summers.

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Cordell (bottom front center on the floor) with his colleagues at Chicago Hopes for Kids

As Cordell pursued his collegiate passions, he began longing to reunite with his family in Chicago. In 2013, together with one of his younger sisters, Cordell started looking for his biological family members on Facebook and found them – his oldest sister was living in Englewood. Eager to reconnect with her, he moved back to Chicago to live with her. Once he returned to Chicago, he eventually became an Americorps Outreach Vista for Chicago Hope for Kids which, was a resource provider at So Fresh Saturday last year. It was there, at  So Fresh Saturday’s Moran Park stop, Cordell first experienced R.A.G.E’s community engagement. “Meeting so many concerned, talented residents from Englewood at So Fresh Saturday really stood out to me and made me want to join R.A.G.E. immediately,” says Cordell. “I felt I always had to leave the community to work at a non-profit org to do activism and social work but to see R.A.G.E.’s community involvement made me realize I can have greater impact in my own community doing it with R.A.G.E.”

Cordell is also a member of the Englewood’s Quality of Life Plan Youth and Education Task Force and helped connect Chicago Hopes for Kids with the Englewood Read initiative. Next month, Cordell is taking 12 Englewood youth from the Primo Center for Women and Children on a field trip to a large Midwest convention for Japanese animation. Thank you Cordell Longstreath for your dedication to the Greater Englewood community!

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Cordell with fellow R.A.G.E. member, Shiri Burson.

 

 

 

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