My name is Blaire Lewis, I am a first year doctoral student at the Adler School of Professional Psychology for clinical psychology. This spring 2013 semester I am enrolled in Community Psychology. In this course we learn the principles, standards, and functions of community psychology such as advocacy, social justice, and empowerment. During this semester I am also, along with my fellow colleagues, working with an organization on a community service practicum (CSP). The organization I work closely with is Neighborhood Housing Services-North Lawndale (NHS). While working with NHS of North Lawndale, I have learned a great deal concerning housing and homeownership. Together we incorporate the goal of the organization through utilizing principles of community psychology to improve North Lawndale with the end goal of increasing homeownership in North Lawndale.
During my time spent with NHS, I have learned about the history of the Contract Buyers League (CBL) and many of the people that played a major role in making CBL a success. One of those influential leaders was Jack Macnamara. Surprisingly, I was in my community psychology class when my instructor handed out an article written by John Macnamara titled “How real estate exploitation helps produce ghettos”. I asked my instructor “Is this Jack MacNamara?” She replied, “No.” Well as I began to skim the article a couple of words stood out to me like Lawndale and contract buying. I thought to myself, John Macnamara and Jack Macnamara must be the same person, or else this is too coincidental that these two men have the same last name and similar advocacy backgrounds in Lawndale. Maybe the two are related?
Ironically, the day John Macnamara came to visit our class as a guest speaker, it turned out that Jack and John are the same man. I was glad to be a well-informed student because of my previous knowledge that I learned at CSP with NHS. In addition to his article, I knew a bit more about Jack and the CBL. After he spoke to my class, sharing his experience working with CBL, we had a chance to speak concerning our connection with NHS. My first encounter with Jack Macnamara was a shocking event because I would have never guessed that some of the people I read, learn, and hear about at CSP would show up in my class! I guess it is a small world after all!