Monthly Archives

February 2019

Black History Month 2019

With a focus on celebrating the current history of Black excellence Thornton Township held its annual Black History Month event. Taking place at its Youth and Family Service Department in Riverdale, the program featured Melody Winston, vice president of Golden Eagle Aviation. a fixed base operation (FBO) that specializes in jet charters, jet maintenance and fuel services. In 2012, her and a colleague, co-founded Legacy Flight Academy, an annual aviation summer camp for teens interested in aviation, as a way to give back. The Legacy Flight Academy is located in Tuskegee, Alabama.

Aside from her personal involvement and professional responsibilities in the aviation industry, Melody is a seasoned commercial real estate investor. Her latest accomplishment with the Forest Park Plaza is a deal that she played a vital role in brokering to secure a new alternative independent grocery concept, named Living Fresh Market. She began her career serving as a realtor for one of Chicago’s most prestigious realty companies. “She is intelligent, innovative, entrepreneurial, game-changing influencer. She has the motivation and energy to inspire generations- young and old,” said Dr. J.L. Weems, director of the youth and family services department.

In previous years, Thornton Township has featured internationally-known civil right activists and author Dick Gregory and last year rented out two showing in the Lansing theater of Black Panther, the highest grossest North American film in 2018. This year’s also entertainment includes the Najwaa Dance Group, an African dance Entertainment and students from District #205 performing songs and spoken words.

The event was catered by local Lansing restaurant Ooo Wee Chicken & Ribs, 18155 Roy St. There was also a five-minute video presentation on current local and national figures who are making an impact today. “This year we focused on the incredible people who are changing our world right now,” said Ernst Lamothe Jr., communication manager for Thornton Township. “There are so many wonderful people who are currently doing great things for our community now we thought it was important to honor them.”

MLK Event

Thornton Township and community partners Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority (Theta Rho Omega Chapter) and School District 205 assembled at South Suburban Colleges’ Kindig Performing Arts Center to celebrate the life and achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., an influential American civil rights leader. His memory was celebrated by the smooth jazz sounds of the Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School Jazz Band and School District 205 student whom participated in the festivities by sharing their creative appreciation for such an import figure in our nation’s history.

Poets and praise dancers from Thornwood High School performed selections on stage like “Still I Rise” and “The Hate You Give”. The celebration demonstrated the excellence of Thornton Townships youth, arts community, and musicians. We were proud to have our student organizations be a part of it. One audience member, Colby Chapman, a woman looking to make history by becoming the first black, female Alderman of the 2nd ward in the city of Harvey, IL, said “My experience was phenomenal, the performances were amazing, especially the youth, who creatively expressed themselves. It was beautiful to look across the crown to behold a sea of diversity and all those who embody the vision and mission of Dr. King,” Chapman says that she heard about the event via social media and the Thornton Township newsletter.

The keynote speaker, Rev. Dr. Ozzie Smith Jr., the Senior Pastor at Covenant Community Church of Christ serenaded the audience with a melodic selection on the clarinet before delivering a motivational and impactful message to the youth and other attendees at the celebration of life. The majority of the youth in attendance belonged to the Chicagoland chapter of, Top Teens of America, an organization that helps mold our future leaders by offering career and character development training. These youth look to make a difference in the communities in which the live by volunteering.

A parent of one of the future leaders and a resident of Thornton Township, Kiaundra Pope says “I heard so many powerful words of encouragement and it motivated me to further my dreams. It reminded me that it is never too late to accomplish your goals no matter the obstacles or circumstances.” This event showed us that Martin Luther King Jr. Day, is not just a day off, but a day to reflect. Dr. King is most well-known for his campaigns to end racial segregation on public transport and fighting to for racial equality in the United States. He was an advocate of non-violent protest and became the youngest man to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 before he was assassinated in 1968. This event showed us that Dr. Kings’ dream is still alive and being survived by the children in our community that celebrate his life and vision through art, speech and music.