In continuing our celebration of Black History Month, we held our first ever Black Café event on February 18. Building off the momentum from the Black Table just a couple weeks earlier, the Black Café once again gave our youth the chance to engage with successful African American leaders and learn about their different paths to success.
Everybody in attendance was treated to a phenominal live musical performance by youth from the Music Box Foundation, who rocked the house from start to finish. Once these kids set the tone for the afternoon, BUILD’s Chief Operating Officer Jill Bradley provided opening remarks and shared some of her own life experiences.
Following Bradley was Fifteenth District Chicago Police Department Commander Ernest Cato, who served as a moderator for the event. Cato talked about his childhood and challenges he faced, and how the decisions he made then shaped who he is today. He highlighted the obstacles many of our youth face in their neighborhoods and encouraged them not to be afraid to ask for help.
Youth then enjoyed a tasty lunch with the adult leaders at their table. Before the event, kids took the time to write down questions pertaining to four different topics: aspirations, experience, people and legacy. Throughout lunch, they had a chance to ask their questions and learn from people who have already navigated through some of the obstacles they face today.
The Black Café took place on Presidents Day, a day many kids had off from school. We are so proud of our youth for spending their day off absorbing the wisdom of their elders and taking steps towards building their own legacies. We are also very grateful for the leaders who attended Black Café and showed our kids what they can aspire to be.
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