Friday, October 20
4:05 PM - 6:00 PM

Featuring Deborah Payne and David Shalliol

We are very excited to host the team of the film THE AREA as part of the first day of our conference.

Just blocks from where ACD will be gathering is a neighborhood of Englewood, on the South Side of Chicago. This neighborhood is a small middle-class community surrounded by railroad tracks. "The area" was a destination for many Black Americans arriving from the South during the Great Migration of the mid-20th century. Homes, wealth, and memories have been handed down from generation to generation.

Despite decades of redlining, divestment, and the 2007 foreclosure crisis, nearly half of families own their homes outright — but the expansion of the nearby freight yard threatens the community and all it has built.

When the train company representatives told Deborah Payne that her South Side Chicago neighborhood would be demolished to build a freight yard, she vowed to be “the last house standing.” A thirty-year resident of the Englewood community, she had raised generations of neighborhood children alongside her own, forging deep friendships and traditions in this Black American community surrounded by the tracks.

THE AREA is the five-year odyssey of her neighborhood, where more than 400 Black American families are being displaced by a multi-billion dollar freight company. As their community is literally being torn apart, residents maintain friendships and traditions while fighting for the respect they deserve. Through their experiences, the film weaves an all-too-real story about the disproportionate harm that structural racism has done to Black communities while illustrating the hope and promise neighbors find in one another as they fight for their home.

Learn more at THE AREA website or their Facebook page.


Deborah Payne
Producer and Activist

Deborah Payne is a life-long activist who is dedicated to community development on Chicago’s South Side. She has served as president of the Sherwood Peace Association, the Southwest Federation of Block Clubs, the CAPS Domestic Violence Subcommittee (7th District), and the Sherwood Local Advisory Council, and has worked as a community liaison and photographer for Teamwork Englewood, Chicago Embassy Church, and the Englewood Railroad Coalition.

She is currently the president of the CAPS Domestic Violence Subcommittee (2nd District), a member of the Chicago Public Schools Englewood Steering Committee, and a volunteer at the Englewood Satellite Senior Center and with various women’s shelters.



David Schalliol
Director, Producer, Cinematographer

David Schalliol is an associate professor of sociology at St. Olaf College who specializes in visual sociology. In addition to working on THE AREA, he has contributed to films including the ITVS/Kartemquin Films feature Almost There and the National Film Board of Canada’s Highrise: Out My Window, an interactive documentary that won an International Digital Emmy for Non-Fiction.

David is also a photographer and writer whose work has been shown in venues including the Chicago Architecture Biennial, the Centre Régional de la Photographie Hauts-de-France, and the Museum of Contemporary Photography and featured by such publications as MAS ContextThe New York Times, and Social Science Research. David is the author of Isolated Building Studies (UTAKATADO) and co-author, with Michael Carriere, of The City Creative (The University of Chicago Press).