More than 60 volunteers gathered at Ellis Park in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood to host a free community day for the city’s youth this past Saturday. For the third year in a row, The TakeBack offered a full afternoon of activities, such as kickball, a bounce house, football and a three-on-three basketball tournament for local children to enjoy.
The event was created by Hasani Henderson, 23, a community organizer who has his own roots in the area, and it has grown exponentially each year since it’s founding. This year saw performances from local music artists and DJs, as well as appearances from local radio stations, including WGCI 107.5 and Power 92.3.
“I’ve always been inspired to uplift the community,” said Henderson. “I’ve done non-pfofit work ever since I was in high school by volunteering at the Boys & Girls Club and The Gary Comer Youth Center (GCYC). But the final straw that motivated me to start The TakeBack was the death of a young man named Darius Brown who had grown to be like a brother to both myself and my entire family. He was gunned down on a basketball court doing what he loved in a place where children should be safe.”
The day came to an end by bringing everyone in attendance together to write the names of someone they’ve lost to gun violence and police brutality on a balloon that they’d all release after a moment of silence.
“More youth! Bigger sponsors! Larger scholarships and adding more of a mentorship aspect,” were the things Henderson wanted to add to The TakeBack moving forward. “We’d also be looking to branch out and throw the event in multiple parks around the city on the same day and, eventually across the country.”
Photo Credit: Hasani Henderson