Black Star Project Celebrate 25th Anniversary

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By Zeki Salah
Chicago Peace Fellows Intern

The Black Star Project celebrated its 25th anniversary on September 25, 2021. Philip Jackson founded the Black Star Project in 1996 to advocate for community involvement in education and the importance of parental development to ensure that children are properly educated.

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Philip Jackson passed away in November 2018, but his legacy lives on as the Black Star Project continues to offer a variety of educational economic empowerment programs, workshops, and events to empower communities of color. Today, Philip Jackson’s sister and 2019 Chicago Peace Fellow, Gloria Smith, acts as the executive director of the Black Star Project.

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An African drum circle and libation ceremony was performed on the newly renamed Philip Jackson Parkway.

The 25th anniversary celebration was kicked off with an African drum circle and libation ceremony on 35th Street and King Drive, which was recently renamed to "Phillip Jackson Parkway." The libation ceremony was led by storyteller and linguistics teacher, Mama Edie, who called for the crowd to offer their thanks to ancestors like Philip Jackson who pioneered educational and community building initiatives. Following the ceremony, speakers from the Bronzeville community celebrated the life and work of Philip Jackson and urged the audience to continue their involvement in the education of children and the creation of a caring community.

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The celebration also featured local music, food, and vendors. Speeches from the community were followed by musical performances by the Samuel Williams Quartet & Bryan Grey as well as Dr. Soul. African and Latin food was offered by a variety of vendors as well as massages, face painting, and a farmers market. The celebration was also used as an opportunity to offer free COVID testing and vaccinations to the community.

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