Bobby L. Rush to pay tribute to Fatherhood in Wake of Urban Violence
The Hope & Healing Community Choir of Englewood hosts inaugural concert on Father's Day, June 21st
CHICAGO - Three years ago, murders of 14-year-old honor student Starkeisha Reed and 11-year-old Sieretha White who was fatally wounded by a stray bullet while celebrating her birthday left the Englewood community searching for solutions. In response and under the banner of the "Working Group on Hope and Healing in Englewood ," U.S. Rep. Bobby L. Rush convened a historic summit which attracted participation from some of the state's high profile leaders in areas of business, media, civic, education, and faith.
After successfully launching a jobs program which netted more than 1,500 teens summer employment, a summer basketball camp, a life skill training program for disadvantaged youth, the Working Group developed the Hope & Healing Community Choir, a non-auditioning chorale of youth and young adults, as a way to increase music education and as an alternative to violence. The choir's repertoire includes songs from various cultural and gospel music traditions, including, songs of justice and peace, songs of hope and longing, and songs that seek to celebrate and inspire.
On Father's Day, June 21, the Hope & Healing Choir, directed by Chuck Colbert, will launch its inaugural concert "A Tribute to Our Fathers," at 6 p.m. the Dusable Museum of African-American History, 740 E. 56th Place . Award-winning song stylist Terisa Griffin will make a special gust appearance and scores of African-American fathers will be paid tribute throughout the evening.
Rush, who pastors Beloved Community Christi an Church in Englewood, believes Black fathers have been maligned by anecdotal information that does not take in account the impact of racism, historical treatment of Black males in society, and the lack of employment opportunities in urban communities. While nearly 70 percent of Black children are said to live in female-headed households, these statistics do not take in account that more Black males remain actively involved in their children's lives than any other social group, according to a study by Boston University .
"African American fathers have been historically portrayed as missing in action, as deadbeats and as being disconnected from their families," Rush said. "However, this generalization only furthers the stereotype that marginalizes the community. Many struggle everyday against the statistics and social myths made about by others. It is time to move beyond those trends and toward a place of support and understanding.
"Fathers, stepfathers, grandfathers, uncles and brothers are the lifeblood of family and traditionally go unsung because of the way we think about the roles of men in the household," Rush co.ntinued. "We intend to celebrate dads for what they represents -- love, stability, honor and protection. Our community choir unites as one voice among many."
In 2007, the Working Group on Hope and Healing in Englewood became a program, of Beloved Community Family Services, Inc., a citywide social service agency, which works to implement short- and long-term so.lutions to youth violence and other socio-economic problems that lead to anti-social behavior, apathy and despair.
Tickets to A Tribute to Our Fathers are $20. For more information contact Beloved Community Family Services at 773-488-9065
The Hope & Healing Community Choir of Englewood