Marching for Peace in the City of Chicago
500 Men March
An inspiring scene played out on Michigan Ave in Chicago on Saturday, April 22 as 500 men from churches throughout the city marched from Roosevelt to Wacker, in full view of the public. The 500 Men March was a response to the previous weekend’s violent outburst where a small group of teens ran through city streets, vandalizing both city, and private property. The violence resulted in gunshots and the injury of two teens and several tourists. It was a concerning event that needed a response, and the local pastors from churches across the city stepped up to lead the way.
I grew up in Chicago and I am all too familiar with the violence that plagues our city. It seems like every week, we hear about another shooting, another life lost to senseless violence. So, when I heard about the 500 men march, as a Black man, and a father to Black men, it was crucial for me to participate.
I continue to believe that if we work together, the possibilities are endless.
There were people of all races and backgrounds there. I felt a special sense of connection to the cause. I knew that if we want to see real change, we need to address the root causes of violence in our communities. My approach has always been multi-faceted. I have been an officer, educator, an active member of my church; and now a dedicated member of the Dream Exchange team.
Many scholars believe that one of those root causes of crime and violence is poverty. For too long, our communities have been excluded from the benefits of being educated about finance generally, but specifically the public capital markets. Not having that background in our community means we do not have the same resources to build businesses and create jobs.
When young people do not have hope or opportunities to succeed, it’s easy for them to fall into a life of crime because they do not see what they have to lose. But if we stand by our youth, provide guidance and structure, and educate our youth and inspire them to dream again, I believe we can help break that cycle.
That is where the Dream Exchange comes in. The Dream Exchange is a new stock exchange that is focused on giving underrepresented entrepreneurs a voice. By providing a platform for these entrepreneurs to raise capital and grow their businesses, Dream Exchange is helping to create opportunities and build wealth in communities that have been left behind for too long. But it is not just about creating the platform – we also need to educate our youth from an early age about the benefits of the public capital markets. By integrating financial education into our schools and communities, we can help our youth understand the power of investing, entrepreneurship, and the public markets.
As I stood at the rally in downtown Chicago, around the most inauspicious of circumstances, I felt a sense of hope and community. I know that change won’t happen overnight, but I also know that there are people out there who are committed to making a difference. As we continue to strive for social justice and equality, it’s essential that we come together as a community and work towards a common goal. The 500 Men March was a beautiful example of that collective action, and it’s a reminder that we all have a role to play in building a better world.
Together, we can restore our people to a better standard of living. One where lives are not lost to senseless violence and where every person has the opportunity to achieve their dreams.