September 24, 2009

Willye B. White Dedication

Contact: Baxter Swilley


Community Comes Together to Honor an Olympic Hero and
Dedicate a Community Center

On Saturday, September 26 the Willye B. White Park Advisory Council will dedicate the new Willye White Recreational Center. This important event culminates a 12-year effort by Rogers Park community leaders to build a safe place for families and young people to play, learn and grow.

“After years of hard work to build a facility that could accommodate seniors, children and adults the community is excited to do a proper dedication of this building. The Park Advisory Council looks forward to working with the Chicago Park District to develop programs for the enrichment of this community,” said Eva McCann, President of the Willye B. White Park Advisory Council and a key leader in this effort.

Mickey Norton, Limited Partner with White Sox Organization and one of Willye’s best friends had this to offer: “I am thrilled that this Park will be a permanent legacy to the contributions she made to this city. Willye always said ‘believe it, achieve it.’ This community and this Park Advisory Council did believe it and we have now achieved it.”

This Chicago Park District facility was built with all the environmental bells and whistles, including energy efficient windows and solar panels.

Willye B. White was a five-time Olympian, two-time Silver Medalist and United States Olympic Hall Fame inductee. White, the first five-time U.S. Track Olympian, competed in every Olympics between 1956 and 1972. She spent 37 years working in city government as a health administrator, a director of recreational services and a creator of sports programs for young girls in housing projects. In 1991, she founded the Willye White Foundation to help children develop self-esteem.

"Willye White was a tireless advocate for Chicago youth and a fighter for justice in the world. I'm humbled by the opportunity to help honor her at the dedication of this Community Center, which is providing critical services and programs to working families," said Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, who is confirmed to speak at the event.

The Congresswoman will be joined by Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, who as a personal friend of Willye’s will share his reflections on her life and the Park Advisory Council’s effort to generate hope and opportunity in the community. White and Schakowsky will be joined by several other elected officials and professional and Olympic Athletes.

At the event, just six days prior to the Olympic decision in Copenhagen, the Park Advisory Council will unveil a new photo display honoring one of America’s most accomplished Olympic athletes, the late Willye B. White.

Event Details:

Saturday, September 26
9:30 am – 12 Noon
Willye B. White Recreational Center
1610 West Howard Street, Chicago

Blog Note: Mickey Norton is also a member of the Park Advisory Council

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