The second annual Bronzeville Cultural Festival, June 19-22, will be highlighted by a Gala Dinner on June 21, 7 p.m., at King College Preparatory High School, 4445 S. Drexel, featuring a reading from "The People of Clarendon County," a play written by the late actor Ossie Davis as part of a fundraising effort for the Ossie Davis Endowment. Performers will be award-winning actors Lynn Whitfield, Avery Brooks and Keith David. The enactment gives life to a pivotal and little known chapter in Civil Rights history. Rev. Joseph DeLaine and other courageous African American parents in South Carolina in the 1950s fought against racial inequality in education. Written in celebration of the Supreme Court’s momentous decision, Brown v. Board of Education outlawing school segregation, it was read only once in 1955 by Ossie, Ruby Dee and Sidney Poitier. The reading is directed by Hilda Willis.
King High School will be the site for the bulk of the festival’s activities. The Bronzeville Book Fair will be held in the school’s lobby; film screenings and the reading in the auditorium. Gala tickets at $100 can be purchased by calling (917) 593-9400 or the Chicago Office of Third World Press, (773) 651-0700. Proceeds will benefit the Ossie Davis Endowment that supports Ossie Davis Scholars, African American students who demonstrate a commitment to use their careers as vehicles of activism to assure equal justice and opportunity, as Davis did. Admission to other events that are part of the Bronzeville Cultural Festival are free. BCF honors Bronzeville’s cultural heritage and affirms the outstanding African American contribution to Chicago’s rich artistic and literary foundation.
The fest is sponsored by support from New York Life Insurance Co., Black Entertainment Television, Black United Fund and ShoreBank. The Bronzeville Book Fair, anchored by Third World Press, one of the nation’s oldest and most respected African American book publishers, is currently accepting vendor applications from authors, booksellers, publishers and others in the book industry. The mission of BCF, which will also feature the Bronzeville Film Festival, is to promote art, literature and film created for, by and about African Americans; encourage literacy and education; and focus a spotlight on the rich history of Chicago’s Bronzeville community through a celebration of cultural heritage. The Book Fair will also feature literary displays, a series of writers’ workshops and workshops on youth, media and violence.
Celebrating “15”–A performance by American Idol finalist, Melinda Doolittle, will highlight Sinai Community Institute’s 15 Years of Going the Distance for Chicago’s West Side community at a June 28 gala co-hosted by NFL Alumni Chicago in the United Club (formerly the Cadillac Club) at Soldier Field. A number of gridiron greats are expected for the evening, which will include the launch of a collaborative program between SCI and NFL Alumni Chicago.
Bound for Glory will focus on mentoring at-risk male youth through high school graduation and beyond Sports collectibles, meals with Chicago Bears luminaries and luxury trips (including a restored week at a spa in Maui and a romantic getaway in Paris) are among items offered in the silent auction. Bidders can make early bids online, where the auction items will be posted two weeks before the gala at www.sinai.org/who/gala2008. There’ll be dancing to the music of Flow Orchestra. Attire is black tie optional, and cuisine is Latin inspired. NBC5 Chicago health correspondent Dr. Sandy Goldberg is the emcee. Highlights of SCI’s achievements over the last 15 years have been captured in a video produced for the occasion. A nationally recognized urban health and social service organization, SCI serves as a significant bridge between the health care system and the North Lawndale community. SCI helps 25,000 people a year; 95 percent are low-income minority women and children. Its 25 distinct programs address interrelated social, economic and environmental factors, helping families and individuals improve their health and well-being through education, employment, wellness and nutrition.
Chaired by Gleatha W. Glispie, the SCI 2008 Gala Committee includes Cheryl Blackwell Bryson, Robin Boyd Clark, Charlie Brown, Leslie Davis, Albert Grace, Jr., Redessa Harris, Felicia Kohlenberger and Harriet Seymore. Sponsors: NBC5 Chicago, Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, Anderson Rasor and Partners, Nebo Systems Inc., AT&T, Associated Agencies, Walgreen’s, Sodexo, BSA Life and W. Morgan Communications. Tickets are $250. For more info or to buy tickets go to www.sinai.org/who/gala2008 or call LaWanda Holmes, (773) 257-6070.
Dance Daze–Millie Cruzat and Audrey Bolling Cheeks are chairs of Our Culture, Our Voice, the Summer Gala celebrating Muntu Dance Theatre’s 36th season of presenting authentic African dance, music and theater. The July 12 concert at the Harris Theatre in Millennium Park will feature the world premiere of N’Dage Mandingo by Senegalese choreographer Baracar N’Diaye. The highly acclaimed Ayo’s Dream choreographed by Tosha Alston and Sweet Nina choreographed by Diedre Dawkins and Kwame Opare.
A reception will follow under a summer night sky on the Rooftop Terrace. Other spearheads: Joan Gray, Muntu president; Amaniyea Payne, artistic director; and Leana Flowers, board chair. Sponsors: Kraft Foods, Collins King Family Fund, Black United Fund of Illinois, ShoreBank, Bank of New York, Blackwell Consulting, Holland Capital Management, Illinois Arts Council, Chicago Dept. of Cultural Affairs and City Arts III. For $175 tickets, call Barbara Pace-Moody, (773) 241-6086.
Walk On!–V103’s Troi Tyler and CBS 2’s Steve Baskerville are honorary chairs for the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois’ Gift of Life Walk 2008 on June 29, 9 a.m., on the Soldier Field Great Lawn. Fatrice Geiger and Lemuettia Hicks, daughters of Ald. Carrie Austin (34th), will co-chair. Also on hand at the free 5K event: state Rep. William Davis (30th), Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th) and Ald. Robert Fioretti (2nd). You can sign up for the Gift of Life Walk at www.firstgiving.com/nkfi.
In Closing–If you’re planning to be out and about on June 17, drop by the Marmon Grand Ballroom, 2230 S. Michigan, and help “Teesee” celebrate another b’day. (Praise God!) We’ll start the party at 5:30 p.m., and continue ‘til 10 p.m. Sure hope to see ya there!
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