𝐀𝐫𝐭 𝐯𝐬 𝐕𝐢𝐨𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐨𝐧 𝐂𝐡𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐠𝐨’𝐬 𝐅𝐨𝐫𝐠𝐨𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐧 𝐖𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐬𝐢𝐝𝐞
Community Coalition Unites to Tackle Gun Violence & Transform Young Lives in Chicago's Most Violent Neighborhood
Chicago, IL (December 9, 2023) - West Garfield Park was recently dubbed the 'most violent neighborhood in Chicago' by the Chicago Sun-Times. This historic neighborhood has witnessed nearly 1,000 shootings in the last five years – approximately one shooting every other day. West Garfield Park, however, is fighting back. A resilient and progressive hope has birthed: The Sankofa School of the Arts. Sankofa is a new, dynamic and collaborative arts showcase supported by leading West Side institutions: New Mount Pilgrim Church-Chicago, the innovative men's group – the MAAFA Redemption Project, and the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation.
“This arts showcase serves a dual purpose. Primarily, it aims to spotlight the exceptional talents of our Black and Brown students in various art forms, celebrating their hard work and dedication,” expressed Mrs. Kenya Joyce Pendleton, the Director of Development, Partnerships, and Strategic Planning at the MAAFA Redemption Project. “Furthermore, this event stands as a beacon of the successful collaboration and community engagement represented by the Garfield Park Rite to Wellness Collaborative, recipient of the recent $10 million Chicago Prize Grant. As part of this collaborative, we’re proud to share a glimpse of what’s to come in West Garfield Park.” Pendleton added.
Supporters view this initiative as the embodiment of the grant's vision: fostering community wellness through creative expression and cultural enrichment in West Garfield Park.
Saturday’s event promises to be one of inspiration and transformation. The showcase aims to underscore the crucial role of arts in empowering young minds, building community connections, and nurturing a sense of belonging and achievement among our youth. Beyond an exhibition of artistic talent, the event stands as a testament to the resilience and potential of our community when supported through strong and viable collaborative efforts. This event materialized through significant funding from the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation, New Mount Pilgrim Church-Chicago, and the MAAFA Redemption Project, exemplifying how strategic community investments and partnerships can yield positive outcomes in cultural enrichment and youth development.
“West Garfield Park is resilient, and we are coming together to tackle the pressing issue of gun violence while nurturing the immense talent within our youth. Our community wholeheartedly supports Sankofa School of the Arts,” stated Marseil Jackson, Radio personality at AM 1390 and CEO of The Dream Center Chicago.
"I wholeheartedly support the new Sankofa School of the Arts. As young people are introduced to new opportunities to showcase their talents and express their creativity, its one of the best ways to create safer streets in Chicago,” stated David Cherry, City Leader of the Award Winning Performance-based youth program the All-Stars Project.The public can, free of charge, see and participate in this groundbreaking initiative at its pilot showcase: Saturday, December 9th, at 2:00 PM, hosted at the MAAFA Center for Arts & Activism, 4241 West Washington Blvd., just two blocks away from the upcoming Sankofa Wellness Center.
“One of my greatest regrets as a civil rights advocate was when CPS slashed the arts budget in our schools. Art cultivates the spirit, “states Pastor Ira Acree.
“Poverty of the spirit is one of the primary causes of the violence today. The Sankofa School of the Arts will re-energize the spirit of our youth, which is critical in making our communities safer for everyone,”Acree added.
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