Common and Kanye West have joined forces to give back to the city that raised them by providing 15,000 jobs for the young people of Chicago over the next 5 years.
“Obviously, one of the biggest reasons our kids are going through what they’re going through is because of poverty. I was doing an event in the neighborhood and there were some kids from Englewood and I said, ‘Man, what do y’all really need? What’s gonna stop this?’ And they were like, ‘we need money. Man, if we could work.’ They want a chance,” Common said.
During a press conference Wednesday (April 9) at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Common announced his Common Ground Foundation would be collaborating with Kanye West’s charity organization, Donda’s House Inc. and the Chicago Urban League in an initiative to supply employment opportunities to the community, known as The Chicago Youth Jobs Collaborative.
“Today we issue a call to action to the public, private and non-profit sectors to join this effort to make year round investments in our youth. Summer jobs provide tremendous opportunities, but we often hear strong pleas from young people for year round jobs,” said Andrea L. Zopp, President and CEO of the Chicago Urban League. “In addition to providing financial resources and a strong work ethic, jobs keep youth out of harm’s way. Year round job opportunities and support services will significantly improve the well-being of our youth and strengthen our city. We owe it to our young people to make this investment in them.”
Common’s and Kanye’s organizations were recently featured in a Stones Throw Record Documentary, are also stressing the importance of music with an upcoming music festival known as AAHH FEST!. The festival will take place September 20-21 at Hyde Park.
The festival will be held annually in order to help fund jobs and other programs in the area. The weekend of music has no official line up as of yet, but will focus on local Chicago talent.