Common recently announced during a press conference that his Common Ground Foundation will be working with Kanye West’s Donda’s House, Inc. and the Chicago Urban League in an initiative to bring employment opportunities through The Chicago Youth Jobs Collaborative. 92 percent of the Black youth in Chicago is unemployed, which means that many of these kids are on the streets. And we’ve all read the gruesome headlines about Chicago’s cruel streets. But what’s worse is Chicago has become the center of the national gun debate, and the city’s youth has taken the hardest hit from gun violence.
In the first eight weeks of 2013, there were 52 homicides, with 15 victims between the ages of 13 and 19, according to a RedEye analysis of preliminary crime data.
Common told Poppin Lines, “Obviously, one of the biggest reasons our kids are going through what they’re going through is because of poverty. I was doing an event in the neighborhood and there were some kids from Englewood and I said, ‘Man, what do y’all really need? What’s gonna stop this?’ And they were like, ‘We need money. Man, if we could work.’ They want a chance.”
And it’s a beautiful thing that Common and Kanye will be giving them this chance. Not only will this initiative bring long-term jobs to the youth of Chicago, but it will also bring a music festival that will act as a yearly fundraiser to raise money for the jobs and other programs. It will be held on September 20-21 behind the Museum of Science and Industry in Hyde Park.
“It’s one thing to provide summer jobs for these kids, but we’re trying to provide year-round jobs,” said Andrea Zopp, CEO of the Chicago Urban League. “We’ve had hearings and the kids have told us that they need jobs year-round.”
Isn’t it wonderful to see stars like Kanye and Common raising awareness to current social issues, like education and poverty?
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