ZF Chicago Block Party Celebrates Youth Achievement

ZF Chicago Block Party Celebrates Youth Achievement

For the first time in what felt like years, the South Shore neighborhood in Chicago was enjoying a peaceful summer day. There was good weather, food, music, and laughter. The elderly were relaxing on their porches and watching their grandchildren play on the streets. That day, parents weren’t worried about hearing the sudden sound of gunfire.

In face of the seasonal rise of gun violence and overall lack of community resources, Zakat Foundation of America (ZF) wanted to provide an opportunity where the South Shore neighborhood could come together and celebrate the academic achievement of their youth while enjoying a relaxing summer day. Some of the neighbors, despite living in the area for years, had never interacted with each other until that afternoon.

“It was about moving forward,” said Marcus Knight, U.S. Programs Coordinator at ZF. “Parents want that environment where their kids are able to go out. The ZF Block Party provided them that.”

“I believe PTSD is a major issue that people don’t acknowledge in our communities,” added Fahmi Jones, Violence Prevention Coordinator at ZF. “The kids are told if you hear gunshots, hit the floor. That’s something a child shouldn’t be hearing.”

The ZF U.S. Programs team also has the upcoming Fasting for Humanity which will highlight the importance of community building in Chicago’s impoverished neighborhoods. The U.S. programs team has been very active in the South Shore neighborhood with starting community gardens and participating in service days at youth centers.