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Will be in court today to save Harold Washington Cultural Center

By Chinta Strausberg

After a more than two-hour tribute to Chicago’s first Mayor Harold Washington, Jimalita Tillman, executive director of the Harold Washington Cultural Center, late Monday night said she is happy to be able to showcase a neighborhood gem that is providing youth with theatrical skills especially since the Center is now an official member of the prestigious League of Chicago Theaters.

While Mayor Rahm Emanuel praised the program and spoke eloquently of the late Mayor Harold Washington and the Center named in his honor, Tillman said the fight to keep the Harold Washington Cultural Center, located at 4701 South King Drive, continues.

Located in the Third Ward where her mother was alderman for 22-years, the former alderman and her daughter have been fighting city officials along with the City Colleges of Chicago who want to seize control of the historic and popular center that sits across from the former Democratic Organization where the late Mayor Washington was so politically active.

“The legal fight is still on in full swing,” the feisty Jimalita Tillman told this reporter. “We have a court date tomorrow (Tuesday, April 30th).”

“Hopefully, some of those naysayers will have their hearts turned tonight and start being cheering and championing what we are doing and help us pay off this debt.

“We are doing a reorganization and a restructuring that will be announced Tuesday. We will be going to court tomorrow. We will officially say we have a new business model; therefore Chancery Court has no jurisdiction on us so we’re moving on to Chapter 11 in a positive way.”

Referring to the Center’s legal fight with the City Colleges of Chicago, Jimalita Tillman explained, “They are closing down all of their performing arts programs but they want our building; however, now that we are going to moving out of Chancery Court into Bankruptcy Court we’ll be able to reorganize and restructure based off our new business model which is generating revenue, we’ll be able to pay down our debt.”

Praising her “Off the Street On the Stage program” and her “Broadway in Bronzeville program, which are in-house production programs, Tillman, who is the daughter of former Ald. Dorothy Tillman (3rd) said, “Being a new member of the League of Chicago Theaters will further help the Center lift up homegrown talent “in our theater and in our community.”

While the second panel of speakers had to be cut from the historic program that honored the 30th anniversary of the inauguration of Mayor Harold Washington due to time, Jimalita Tillman echoed what WVON’s Cliff Kelley, who was Masters of Ceremony, suggested…that there may be a Part II of honoring “the Man, the Moment, the Movement” remembering Mayor Washington.

“I believe that there is a next step. A lot of young people are now energized with the spirit of Mayor Washington because the stories that were told tonight have them thinking. Now they want to go back and properly research the history of Harold Washington. He is no longer just a cultural center, no longer a library or a college. He’s alive to them now. They were able to hear his voice whereas before they saw photos, read about him in newspapers or books, but seeing him alive up there made him more tangible,” she told this reporter.

“Our youth people told us they finally heard his voice, how strong and loud his voice was. Our drill team started and ended with a speech, but they had to study several of his speeches. Many of them were prepared to do oratory performances today of Mayor Washington.

“That is what we have to do,” young Tillman said. “Every other culture takes their leaders and immortalizes them to their speeches and presentations and we want to make sure we do that here with Harold Washington.”

Tillman said the Center includes a 1,000-seat theater, a full service recording studio, a video editing lab and they train youth with most of them going on to higher education. “We had teen summit…where young people not only talk about stopping the violence but a positive life movement in the right direction and increasing the peace….”

She urged supporters to learn more about the Harold Washington Cultural Center by clicking on: http://www.broadwayinbronzeville.com or call 773.373.1900, or “if they want to support what we are doing, they can go to Seaway National Bank” and contribute to the Center.

“The fight is on. We are working on a $1.5 million capital campaign to burn our mortgage and another $1 million to continue the programming because right now we do not receive any funding for program or operations.” She is hoping that the more than 1,000 people who attended the celebration of Mayor Washington’s 30th anniversary will help in “zeroing out that debt.”

 

 

Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host. You can e-mail Strausberg at: Chintabernie@aol.com.

 


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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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