By TIA CAROL JONES
Local artists and entrepreneurs joined together for expression and discussion during the Dream Village Bus Tour’s stop at the Little Black Pearl on Saturday, Sept. 8.
More than 300 people attended the Chicago stop of the tour, which began in Washington, D.C. in August.
The bus tour, which is sponsored by American Family Insurance, was the brainchild of Eunique Jones Gibson. The Dream Village is a creative community in Hyattsville, Maryland, that offers co-working space, online community and events and programs.
Jones Gibson said she wanted this experience to go further than Maryland so she created the bus tour.
“This platform is needed everywhere and the best way is to take Dream Village to the people,” she said.
Gibson said she wanted to bring the tour to Chicago because she wanted to help change the narrative.
“There are dope people who are doing amazing things. I wanted to bring Dream Village here to piggyback on that amazing energy,” Jones Gibson said. “It’s not just about working it’s about resources. I’m hoping it will rebuild the village, bring back village values and be a connection point.”
During the day, there was a DJ boot camp and a bus where people learned how to code.
Ald. Sophia King (4th) was in attendance and said, “I appreciate the theme about the networking and creating positive images for the community; those are all things I support.”
In addition to all the activities, there was a “Dream Talk,” which featured panelists including Chris-Tia Donaldson, CEO of Thank God It’s Natural; Jussie Smollett, actor; Patrice Grell Yursik, blogger for Afrobella; Luvvie Ajayi, author and activist; Dwamina Drew, founder of Enstrumenal Brand and Telisa Yancy, chief marketing officer of American Family Insurance.
Yursik said she’s always admired Gibson’s vision and platform.
“What Eunique is doing is all about inspiring communities to dream bigger,” she said. “I’m just happy to support somebody else who uplifts the community.”
Yursik said the panel discussion was an opportunity for people to get a behind the scenes look at the struggles of successful people.
“It’s almost like a live on-screen therapy session,” she said.
Rhonda Mitchell, an attendee at the event, said it felt good to have a vision and see it come to life.
“I’m overwhelmed with inspiration. As an entrepreneur, as a creative, just to be around like-minded people is important,” Mitchell said.
Local artist Tyler Clark, who was a vendor at the event, said it felt good to be in a space with people who are where she wants to be.
“It makes me feel confident in my journey. Just understanding that walking my walk and my steps will be ordered,” Clark said.
From Chicago the tour will go to Madison, Wisconsin, then to Atlanta and then to Los Angeles.
For more information about Dream Village, visit www.dreamvillage.com.