In Chicago, many are trying to change the landscape of Chicago. There are those who are trying to the bring the same experience of culture, art, and awareness you would get on the north side to the city’s underrated south side of Chicago. From poetry events to nightlife, there are those who are doing the best to revive the pulse in neighborhoods many would be afraid to come to.
Chicago event planner and activist, Breia Harris, is one of those people who is making a difference in Chicago and turning up while doing it.
On March 18th, Feel Good Open Mic was held in a Stoney Palace Cafe, a local breakfast and lunch restaurant in the Avalon Park neighborhood. The Open Mic event was dedicated to the youth of Chicago’s south and west side. A portion went to the RISE foundation of Illinois. The organization was started by a single mother who’s daughter wanted to go away but was struggling to pay for college. She started the foundation to help underprivileged kids of color who want to go to college. Within the RISE Foundation, they also have two mentorship programs, Girls with Pearls and Guys With Ties. Alexis, a member of the foundation, explained she joined the RISE foundation because she wanted to meet other students of color. She explained, “We have to support one another". She also explained she wanted to break the barrier between inner city kids of color and those who live in the suburbs because she is from the suburbs.
The Open Mic started with, B. Lin, a singer/songwriter born and raised in Chicago and Donda’s House member (shameless plug). She performed a song, untitled, about her ex-boyfriend. The crowd was amazed by her vocals.
Jamere, who performs under the name JAH with the CAP, is a poet and the final performer. The Chicago poet performed a poem about black lives matter and the importance of black pride. After his performance, the crowd applauded him for his effort to use his message to promote black excellence.
To conclude the event, Harris and AJ Guidry, the event photographer, spoke on the arts program in Chicago and how their goal is to get Chicago citizens to express themselves. Guidry ended with the word, “your gift is all that you have.”
Please stay tuned for future events from Breia Harris!