The Common Ground Foundation held its fifth annual gala, La Vie En Rose, at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel in Chicago recently. In attendance was Grammy and Oscar award winning actor/musician Common, who is the founder. The emcee for the evening was actor Lamman Rucker of “Why Did I Get Married?” and “Meet The Browns” fame.
The Common Ground Foundation is an organization that gives back to the community and helps nurture and develop Black youth into outstanding community leaders. This year welcomed the the first graduating class. Every senior who is part of the organization has been accepted and is going to college, except for two who have chosen to serve their country in the military.
We asked Queensha Mckinney, one of the graduates, how the foundation has changed her life. “The Common Ground is like a second family to me now. I know I can go to them for anything. If I’m having a bad day, if I got a bad grade, if I just need someone there to support me, my mom is always there, but if I need a little extra support I can go to Common Ground for anything,” said Mckinney.
Queensha has received a full scholarship to the University of Notre Dame with the help of the Common Ground Foundation.
The evening also took time to honor the service of Kim Foxx, who is currently running for Cook County’s States Attorney seat. If elected, she would be the the first African American States Attorney elected in Cook County. Beverly Bond, the founder of Black Girls Rock, was also honored. Erika Bracey, a cancer survivor and founder of Brave Chicks, was surprised with an honor for the evening and it proved to be one of the most emotional moments of the night.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel showed up and had this to say about Common: “Common knows where he came from, what helped make him, and he has never forgotten where he came from.”
Common’s mother, Dr. Mahalia Hines, was very proud of the students and spoke to the main lesson that they work to teach the youth. “We teach them that it’s very important to be a good person,” said Hines.
In it’s fifth year, the Common Ground Foundation is doing amazing work and is helping to create a more productive future for our youth.