The nonprofit Safer Foundation provides assistance to citizens returning from incarceration, such as job placement and training and educational programming. Much of its work is made possible thanks to the Second Chance Act, which was championed by longtime U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis and passed in 2008 with bipartisan support. On Aug. 20, Safer Foundation unveiled a mural honoring Davis for what the Second Chance Act has done to help citizens successfully reintegrate into their communities.
“Safer Foundation celebrated the 50th anniversary of our agency last year, and part of the celebration we wanted to make sure that we honored Congressman Danny Davis,” said Safer Foundation president and CEO Victor Dickson. “He’s the congressman for the 7th Congressional District … on the West Side of Chicago. More people who are released from prison in Illinois come back to the West Side of Chicago than just about any other community in the state, … and that bill has provided over a billion dollars in funding for reentry programs for services for people in prison, in jail, and when they come out into the community. It’s been in operation for all these years and helping people all over the country, especially right here in Chicago.”
Dickson said the organization commissioned artist Janel Young to create the 3,500-square-foot mural on the building’s north face at Kedzie Avenue and Polk Street. It’s work that culminated over the summer.
“This was an opportunity for us to do something to recognize him, to thank him on behalf of not just the folks in Chicago, but people all over the country that have benefited from the work that he did,” Dickson said. “This mural is about investing in people and about beautifying the space as well. And it’s symbolic of the hope. If you look at the portrait itself, you can see that he’s kind of looking upward to the sky. And some people ask the question, ‘Well, why are the whites of his eyes not white, but they’re blue?’ But the artist said, that’s a reflection — of him looking at clear skies, blue skies, the future being bright and promising.”