Watch CBS News

Alderwoman may help resident's effort to bring holiday lights to Lawndale trees

Alderwoman may help resident's effort to bring holiday lights to Lawndale trees
Alderwoman may help resident's effort to bring holiday lights to Lawndale trees 02:34

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Streetside holiday decorations help brighten up the season – but the lack of them can really highlight which areas might be struggling.

One woman wants to even the merriment playing field, and has been working to lighten up the West Side's Lawndale neighborhood. And after CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov intervened, that woman might now be getting some aldermanic help.

For Lawndale resident Princess Shaw, shrouding the trees on Douglas Boulevard in Christmas lights is about more than holiday cheer.

"We see it in the other neighborhoods all the time. A lot of people from this neighborhood have to go downtown to see holiday lights," Shaw said. "We have a beautiful parkway - why not do it in our own backyard?"

Shaw spent the last three years spearheading an effort to bring holiday lights to this part of the 24th Ward. It is a part of the city hit hard by violence and poverty.

"I get tired of seeing the disadvantages that we have in our community. I get tired of saying, 'Why can't we have nice things in our community?" Shaw said, "and how can I change that?"

Shaw's goal is to wrap lights around hundreds of trees on both Douglas Boulevard and Independence Boulevard. She said 100 trees are now lit up, with a goal of a total of 525 trees.

Shaw has set up a GoFundMe to help with the expenses for Light Up Lawndale. This year, an organization called Chicago Cares is helping out.

Shaw said she called the 24th Ward alderman – formerly Michael Soctt, now his sister Monique Scott – to ask for support, with no success. But while Kozlov and Shaw were talking, Ald. Monique Scott called Kozlov back.

After telling Kozlov she is still getting to know her office while campaigning to keep it, Ald. Scott agreed to talk to Shaw.

"I just want to make sure the entire boulevard is lit up," Shaw told Scott over the phone.

The upshot is that Shaw says Ald. Scott told her she will help provide lights – and even help round up volunteers this year.

"It's just about trying to bring the unity back in community, right?" Shaw said.

Shaw said she will do her best to get all 500-plus trees in the area wrapped in lights. No matter what, though, there will be a ceremony to celebrate on Saturday.

Former Ald. Michael Scott told CBS 2 he contributed $1,500 to someone working with Shaw last year, but Shaw said she never saw any of that money – nor was she given receipts for anything bought with that $1,500.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.