This past Saturday, Lawndale Christian Community Church hosted their annual festival, Firefest, for the Lawndale community at the Firehouse Community Center. The programming for the day included musical sets by DJs and various artists such as DJ Rock On, Duane Powell, Phenom, LowDown BrassBand, Chi Buck Movement, Damon Lamar, and Microphone Misfits as well as breakdancing battles, games, and various activities for community members.
Amidst of youth playing pick-up basketball games and local police officers playing sack toss with members of the community, there is a sense of peace and community. Community members patronize local businesses at the event, such as The Photosynthesis Brand, LLC (@photosynthe_sis) a local plant shop, The Microphone Misfitz comic books for youth, and received resources from Saint Anthony’s Hospital. Youth also received free books from North Lawndale Reads and were invited to create graffiti and mural art outside of the Firehouse Community building.
Firefest, formerly known as Hip Hop Revival, is an inclusive block party created to display a fresh aspect of the Lawndale community, which rivals the violence that is often displayed within the community. “With this event we are just coming together and celebrating-this is the norm, this is how we look. This art is a redemptive strategy for our youth and the community. The Firehouse Community Arts Center of Chicago seeks to spark new flames one life at a time and the Firefest Hip-Hop Block Party is the culmination of the summer celebration of those flames. With all the tension in all the North Lawndale, we want to show the other pressure that we have here, the fire to ignite change and peace within our community”, says Pastor Phil Jackson, coordinator of Firefest and Founder and CEO of Firehouse Community Center.
The Firehouse Community Arts Center, a non-profit organization, works to interrupt the cycle of violence for youth and young adults in North Lawndale through the power of arts and faith. Programming at the Firehouse includes outreach, Hip Hop Church, and a VIP program for youth that provides professional mentoring, cognitive behavioral therapy, and training through their catering company, The Firehouse Catering Company.
For more information on Lawndale Christian Community Church and Firehouse Community Center programming check out their websites: online.lawndalechurch.org and About | Firehouse Community Arts Center of Chicago (thefcac.org)
Chante’ Gamby is a writer passionate about social justice and empowering others to live their healthiest lives. You can follow her on Facebook at Fringefam, Instagram@fringegram, or on her website, www.fringefam.com.