Here's Jay Readey, Our First Executive Director
April 18, 2016
I am pleased to introduce myself as Friends of Big Marsh’s interim executive director, and to re-invite you to share in the transformation now underway on Chicago’s southeast side.
I joined Friends of Big Marsh at the end of 2015, and am thrilled to be with you during this year’s run-up to the park opening and commencement of events and activities at Big Marsh.
I have been a bike guy since I turned seven and rode endless laps around the neighborhood. I worked in a bike shop and as a bike messenger; I’ve ridden and raced mountain, cross, road and ultra distance, and have ridden bikes for touring, commuting, and utility, including transporting my son to school kindergarten through 5th grade. As a Chicago Southland resident, my commutes have criss-crossed the South Side and the Loop; my favorite route passes through Pullman just to the west of Big Marsh.
Professionally I am a lawyer and nonprofit entrepreneur, having been involved in numerous nonprofit startups. Most recently, I was Executive Director of the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law from 2010 through 2015, and I stepped away to drive investments to diverse and inclusive neighborhoods. Bringing Big Marsh to South Chicago qualifies as just such an investment.
As the park opening approaches later this year, I hope you will redouble your interest and meet me and other Friends of Big Marsh out there for an event. We need stewards, cyclists, and community leaders to be fully focused on the rich potential of Big Marsh as a resource for all of Chicago, based in the far South Side. Please don’t hesitate to contact me about ways you can plug in and develop that focus.