Chicago’s Rashada Dawan will sing for peace

Photo credit: Facebook - Rashada Dawan
Photo credit: Facebook – Rashada Dawan

Chicago actress, singer, dancer, and playwright Rashada Dawan is lending her voice and heart to “karaoke for peace” in her city’s most challenging neighborhoods. Karaoke For Peace encourages residents to participate in positive neighborhood events and hopes to foster a spirit of togetherness, love and peace. Dawan is focusing her efforts on some of the neighborhoods hit hardest by gun violence.

Videos of Dawan singing in the street are being widely circulated through social media. She brings smiles to faces once covered in tears by turning neighborhoods into pop-up karaoke lounges.

“I was tired of feeling hopeless and helpless about my city,” Dawan told the local ABC news affiliate. “I’m born and raised right in Chicago and I didn’t like going all over the world hearing about the violence of my city, it just broke my heart.”

Dawan set out on a mission to heal the hearts of Chicagoans through song. Residents in Humboldt Park, Englewood, Roseland, and Washington Park have been treated to her singing.

“When I walked out of the door I wasn’t expecting it but it brings more joy and a different vibe to the community,” said Humboldt Park resident Anthony Dean.

Despite their city often being characterized as a war zone due to gun violence, Chicagoans are embracing her positivity.

“I think we should be doing this across the city,” said Patricia Hoskins-Saffold of Humboldt Park. “I think it can make a huge impact.”

Photo credit: Facebook - Rashada Dawan
Photo credit: Facebook – Rashada Dawan

Perhaps aware of the post-traumatic stress disorder induced by direct and indirect exposure to a violent environment, Dawan seeks to ease the anxiety one song at a time.

“I hope that they leave feeling a little lighter and then that lightness transfers to their families, transfers to their kids, transfers to their communities and ultimately this entire city and maybe to the nation,” Dawan said.

All donations will benefit NAMI Chicago, the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

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