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Bronzeville, Near South Side

Bronzeville Neighborhood Farm Honoring Slain Founder With Movie Night Saturday

Community members are still grieving the leader while looking for ways to celebrate his life and work. They'll honor him at Saturday's movie night.

Johnnie Owens at the farm he created and supported for more than a decade.
Bronzeville Neighborhood Farm
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GRAND BOULEVARD — Johnnie Owens, who founded Bronzeville Neighborhood Farm, will be honored at an event this weekend.

Owens was a beloved figure in the community before he was shot dead about two months ago. Community members are still grieving the leader while looking for ways to celebrate his life and work.

As part of that, they’ll hold their event, Movie Night at the Farm, in Owens’ memory 5:30 p.m. Saturday at the farm, 4148 S. Calumet Ave. They’ll play clips celebrating the farm’s 10-year history and watch Owens’ favorite show, “High On the Hog,” with a discussion afterward.

There will ice cream, light refreshments and Stony Island Tea. The event is free and open to all.

Amandilo Cuzan, one of the people running the farm in Owens’ absence, said the pain is still sharp, but the team is doing their best to move forward.

“Everyone was in such shock in those weeks following John’s death. Everything slowed down, like we were moving in slow motion,” Cuzan said. “People still came around, but you could tell there was a heaviness.”

Still, their work continues. A walk-in freezer was recently installed, and a COVID-19-compliant shopping cart was built to help with sales. There’s a new compost bin, too, and flowers decorating the farm’s perimeter, all done by volunteers.

Owens’ wife, who is determined to keep the farm going, has “picked up the banner” as her son recovers from the safe shooting that killed Owens, Cuzan said.

Cuzan is optimistic that justice will be served.

“It’s encouraging that [investigators are] really taking their time with this because they want to make sure that they have a strong case that will bring a conviction for this terrible crime,” Cuzan said.

“John was the kind of person who was all about staying engaged and overcoming obstacles. He was very much about getting back to work, and doing what we need to do. So we’re doing that, but in a more celebratory mood.”

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