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Hyde Park, Woodlawn, South Shore

GoodKids MadCity To Give Away Free School Supplies At Back-To-School Block Party In Washington Park Sunday

The youth organizers will also call on CPS to adopt student-led restorative justice practices as they celebrate the new school year.

GoodKids MadCity organizers serve food at their Feed the Block event in December 2018.
Courtesy of Kofi Ademola
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WASHINGTON PARK — The youth activists of GoodKids MadCity will hold a back-to-school block party with music and school supply giveaways Sunday.

The event, scheduled for 2-4 p.m., will begin with a press conference at East 51st Street and South Calumet Avenue. Members plan to detail the importance of school supplies and give a broader view of school safety, adviser Kofi Ademola said.

All Chicago Public Schools “need student-led restorative justice,” Ademola said. “Too many students drop out because their friends have been killed and CPS doesn’t provide enough services for them.”

Musical performances — largely from GoodKids MadCity organizers — will keep the energy high at the party.

“GKMC is an organization full of artists,” organizer Chyna Smith said. The party is “an opportunity for them to express their artistry.”

Known primarily for its work against gun violence in Chicago, the group held a march through Washington Park in December. Marchers called for more city resources to address the root causes of violence in their neighborhood.

The group rallies around other causes as well, Smith said. GoodKids MadCity held one of its “Feed the Block” events at 51st and Calumet in December, offering free hot meals to local residents.

GKMC Hoops, a series of free basketball tournaments held at the shuttered Overton Elementary School, also aims to give young men in the area a safe space to play.

“Not only do they have young men playing basketball for free, but they also talk to them about deconstructing toxic masculinity,” Ademola said. “This back to school event is just one in a long line of events that they’ve been doing to support the community.”

More recently, GKMC organizers hosted a booth at Lollapalooza to draw attention to their cause.

“The message of nonviolence, we spread it through community engagement,” Smith said. “We do have members that are involved in other organizations, and they continue to spread that message wherever we go.”

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