Introducing Elise Malary Plaza!

A rendering of the future Elise Malary Plaza with brick pavers, greenery, trees, planters, and wood-toned benches and shade structures

This week, the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) unveiled the final designs for Elise Malary Plaza, Andersonville’s first pedestrian plaza on Catalpa Avenue between Clark and Ashland. The plaza is named in honor of Elise Malary, a Black Trans Woman activist and a beloved member of the Andersonville community who fought fiercely to make that community into a more inclusive place where Black and Brown Trans people could live and thrive.

This stretch of Catalpa Ave is also home to the Black Trans Lives Matter mural, a 2020 project in which artists and activists, including Elise Malary, came together to affirm Black Trans Lives through art and to demonstrate that Andersonville is, in Elise’s words, “trans-welcoming, trans-inclusive, and trans-safe.” In March 2024, the Andersonville community gathered together to rename this stretch of Catalpa Elise Malary Way, to honor Elise and the legacy she had on Andersonville and the Black Trans Lives Matter movement.

A crowd clapping and cheering as the honorary street sign, Elise Malary Way, is unveiled

We are deeply proud to name Andersonville’s first pedestrian plaza in Elise’s honor, as a tribute to the way she used public spaces to bring people together and a reminder to continue her work in furthering inclusion, equity, and justice for our Trans and Black and Brown neighbors.

Thank you to the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce, the Chicago Therapy Collective, Elise’s friends and family, and the many members of the Andersonville community that have engaged in this process, and that joined us for the naming of Elise Malary Way. We look forward to dedicating this plaza alongside all of you in 2025!