Honoring Phillip Jackson with a Street Renaming Celebration

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Chicago Peace Fellow (2019)

Last weekend, on Juneteenth, community members, relatives, and civic leaders from Bronzeville and across Chicago's South and West Sides came together to celebrate the renaming of 35th & King Drive to the Honorary Phillip Jackson Parkway. My brother, the late Phillip Jackson, founder of the Black Star Project, was a prolific organizer and activist in Chicago, whose dedication to the empowerment, education, and affirmation of Black families and youth leaves a powerful legacy strongly felt today.

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Throughout the celebration, many community members were eager to share their experiences with Phillip, discussing the impact he had on their lives, happy memories, and inspirational anecdotes. In addition, his family (including sisters and cousins who traveled from out of town) gathered with Chicagoans to celebrate their love of Phillip. I am currently serving as Executive Director of the Black Star Project, to continue the educational and activist traditions of Phillip with help from a wide circle of friends and coworkers.

 

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For decades, Phillip was active in the Bronzeville and greater Chicago areas, serving as a civic leader and government official before returning to re-invest his talents and leadership at the community level. In 1996, He founded The Black Star Project, an educational nonprofit based in the neighborhood of Bronzeville, to combat the racial achievement gap in education in Black and Brown communities. The organization is now entering its 25th year and maintains a strong, substantive array of community-based programs, activities, and initiatives.

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One such program occurring this summer is Building Chicago's Next CEO (BCNC), a holistic entrepreneurship program that provides training in new business logistics, financial literacy, and networking to a cohort of Black and Brown youth each year. In addition to these trainings and hearing from professionals in the field, members of the cohort receive a monetary stipend, which they are encouraged to invest in starting their own business.

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BCNC and the rest of Black Star's programs aim to provide resources to the Black and Brown community, offering additional pathways to education, economic stability, intergenerational health, and vocational success. These aims were at the heart of Phillips work, and remain at the heart of Black Star's mission and vision today.

The Black Star Project is grateful to Alderman Sophia King (who sponsored the ordinance) and the City of Chicago for honoring Phillip's life and legacy with this memorial parkway dedication. Through its continued commitment to serving the South and West Side communities, Black Star is committed to maintaining and expanding this legacy for many years to come.

All photos courtesy of Hurley Green.

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