The third annual Bronzeville Mayor’s Ball, hosted by Bronzeville Mayor Andre Guichard and First Lady Frances Guichard, took place at Gallery Guichard, located in the heart of 47th Street.
Bronzeville supporters from all walks of Chicago, gathered to promote black business, black art, and to celebrate folks who have made a positive impact in the Bronzeville community. The ticketed event, included music, food and drink, and live painting from the Guichard resident artists.
“It’s about giving back to the community, and making sure that we pay attention to our youth. We do that through our non-profit, Building Communities Foundation Inc.,” said First Lady Guichard. “Andre wanted a platform that would not only talk about what’s happening in Bronzeville and elevating our pillars but to also give back to the youth by supporting other worthy non-profits. The pillars are people of the community that put in the extra effort to uplift their neighbors and the Bronzeville community at large.”
Notable fashion designer, South Loop Business owner, and contributor to the Mayor’s Ball, Barbara Bates, advocated the importance of attending the ball. “It’s important that we shop together that we support each other…that we take young people that want to aspire to do what we’re doing and take them on and be mentors to them. Events like this make it possible to show people in the community that they can do [this] also,” Bates said.
The historic black community of Bronzeville was birthed from a time of immense segregation after the great migration, a time period when thousands of black folks fled the south because of Jim Crow. During that time, African Americans who came to Chicago faced very similar challenges of prejudice as they had in the South, and found solidarity and safety in the neighborhood which was later named Bronzeville.
The area flourished with black-owned small businesses that thrived because of the intrinsic support of its African American community.
“We had doctors and lawyers and business men—we had people who aspired to do better because they saw what was happening in the world and in their community — even though, coming from the south they were poor, they saw opportunity,” First Lady Guichard said. “The money stayed in the community and we need to bring that back, it is so important that we understand that we must invest in our own communities and create economic development for our people.”