May , 2018

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“We know we have to blend arts and entertainment with activism in order to engage and address issues we have throughout the neighborhood.” Asiaha Butler, R.A.G.E. President

CHICAGO, IL – Community residents are taking Englewood’s fate into their own hands by sponsoring the third annual So Fresh Saturdays’ series. The day long arts, entertainment, and educational initiative premiered after residents felt a lack of peaceful festivities in Englewood.

Members of the Resident Association of Greater Englewood (R.A.G.E.) host the community outing, which offers the public free, family-oriented, resident crafted “edu-tainment.” In the past, So Fresh Saturdays has featured spoken word and open mic, screened films, and gathered peace circles. The goal of the series is to create a safe space in the parks of the Greater Englewood community.

As an organization, R.A.G.E. strives to highlight community assets already present in Greater Englewood. The organization equips residents with tools to inspire positive action and create their own empowering narratives about the neighborhood despite being branded as ‘Chiraq.’

Asiaha Butler, also known as Mrs. Englewood, serves as the co-founder and president of R.A.G.E. She added her insight on the efficacy of So Fresh Saturdays: “We know we have to blend arts and entertainment with activism in order to engage and address issues we have throughout the neighborhood.” For Butler, reclaiming neighborhood parks and gathering for family bonding, community love, and a lively celebration of the #GoodInEnglewood is the tipping point for transformation.

This year, So Fresh Saturdays will feature a staggering lineup, including Legends of Chicago Hip-Hop, a backbone of the peace hip hop movement. Adding to the roster are Westside natives FM Supreme, who self describes as a humanitarian rap artist, and K.W.O.E, who has performed at South by Southwest (SXSW) and has been featured on ESPN with hit single “We Won’t Back Down.” All these artists, and many more, will take the stage at So Fresh Saturdays to emphasize the love that is shared among Englewood residents.

The So Fresh Saturdays’ kickoff takes place on June 20, 2015 at Sherwood Park (5701 S. Shields). The series culminates in a backpack giveaway for elementary and high school students. All events take place from 3pm to 8pm, and the entire schedule is as follows:

·         June 20th  – Sherwood Park – 5701 S. Shields

·         July 11th – Ogden Park – 6500 S. Racine

·         July 25th – Hermitage Park – 5839 S. Wood

·         August 8th – Lindblom Park – 6054 S. Damen

·         August 29th – Hamilton Park -513 W. 72nd St.

So Fresh Saturdays is presented as part of the Chicago Park District’s Night Out in the Parks series, supported by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Arts programming in neighborhoods across the city advances the goals of the Chicago Park District and the Chicago Cultural Plan. Now in its third year, the 2015 Night Out in the Parks series will host over 1,000 events and programs at more than 250 neighborhood parks throughout the city, making community parks a safe haven and hubs of activity. Projects will vary from traditional performances and concerts, to movies, peace rallies, community workshops, nature based programs, dance pieces, festivals, and more. The Chicago Park District has partnered with more than 80 arts and community organizations to expand and produce this successful initiative.

Wherever R.A.G.E. is, there is sure to be community building and pride for a community that is often shunned in the media. You will not want to miss out on these So Fresh events!

Any individuals or organizations willing to serve as a resource can connect through these means: 866-845-1032 – joinrage [at] gmail [dot] com – ragenglewood.org – FB.com/RAGEnglewood

The Resident Association of Greater Englewood (RAGE) is a resident-driven organization whose mission is to mobilize residents of the community, utilizing asset-based development and innovative organizing techniques. Visit ragenglewood.org for more info.

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