A Good Time in North Lawndale For All At 4th Annual North Lawndale Arts Festival

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alt text By Demarco Trammell, Criminal Justice and Reform Reporter, The Real Chi

The North Lawndale community gathered for the 4th Annual Arts Festival, Hip-Hop Revival, and Jam for Justice on August 3. People enjoyed a barbecue, bought art pieces, and watched break dancers from all corners of the city showcase their moves.

NLCCC member Sheila McNary said seeing the community having fun makes her job worthwhile.

“It makes me feel good about the work I’ve done and am doing, and I know that’s having a positive impact on the community,” she said.

McNary who has been associated with the council for three years, says her passion for the community comes from her work during the Civil Rights movement. 

“When I was a member of the Black Panther Party, we came into existence because of the police brutality in our community. And the disparities we have,” McNary said. “And this is what it does,  all the work I’ve done has always been to uplift our race and people in the community.”

Local vendors were in attendance and offered a variety of services to the patrons. Farm on Ogden had an assortment of fresh fruit and vegetables available, for just a dollar patrons could purchase an arrangement of collard greens. Aside from food, there were also artists vendors, such as Tracy Worthy who had her creative jewelry on display.

Barbara Deer, wife of Cook County Commissioner Dennis Deer (2nd Dist.), was on hand selling her famous pillowcases. The pillowcases are made out of silk and are perfect for black hair to sleep on, and were available for the affordable price of $22.

At the Hip-Hop Revival hosted by the Firehouse Community Arts Center, break dancers from all over Chicago and various hip hop musicians come in and put on a great show.

Pastor Phil Jackson, executive director of the Community Arts Center and Revival for the past 10 years, appreciates the chances it gives the youth.  “It’s one of those things where our young people can come out and show off what they do.”

Jordan Carr, executive assistant, appreciated the dedication he has given to the whole community of Lawndale.

“He just genuinely loves everybody that comes across, he will stop and have a conversation with anyone. He knows everybody and he just brings a sense of safety and comfort to the neighborhood that we need,” she said.

Local artist Haman Cross expressed how festivals such as this can bring harmony to the community,
I think you need to have events that people can celebrate and see beauty, and celebrate each other and that sort of thing. I think these types of events are very important to the health and the future of our community,” he said.

At the conclusion of the whole day, McNary had another surprise for the festival, the acclaimed  movie, “Love Jones,” starring Nia Long and Larenz Tate was played for the community.

She also went on to reveal plans for next year.” So next year, we’re going to look at something different, we’ll have it in August, but we might partner with the West Side Cultural Foundation to do something bigger over in the bigger park and maybe block off Sacramento or something like that.”