Community leaders often bash athletes and celebrities who gain an abundance of wealth and fail to give back to the less fortunate. Shannon Brown and Michael Finley did their best to give back to their community this weekend, proving critics wrong, with the Woodstars Summer Carnival and Music Festival at Proviso East High School in Chicago.
The process was not met without major concerns by residents and community leaders, who denied the request for the event to be held at Proviso West after organizers and District 209 President Chris Welch lobbied for approval on July 6. Organizers deemed Proviso East to be a better location after further discussion.
According to the Forest Park Review, Hillside Village Manager Russ Wajda said when he heard the organizers’ plans to host the event at West, he was taken aback.
“It just seemed like … it was trying to be rushed in,” Wajda said. “You’ve got all these people coming, where are they going to park? How are they going to get to the village safely? Are we going to have enough personnel to be able to provide security throughout the community and outside the event?”
The organizers informed Hillside officials about the proposal a month before it was scheduled to happen.
“You’ve got this big event you want to run in July and you’re coming to us in June?” Wajda said.
The village manager in Maywood did not share those same worries.
“We don’t share those concerns,” Joe Ponsetto said. “We will have a nice festival party right here in beautiful Maywood.”
Granted, Chicago hasn’t been the best area to hold large-scale events with the recent string of crime and violence in the community, the city should not be seen as a danger zone where residents can’t be civilized. Athletes and celebrities are criticized for not giving back to the community, but are fought when they attempt to. Sounds like the old saying, “You’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.”
The Woodstars Festival went on, contrary to community leaders beliefs, without a hitch. The neighborhood came together for a peaceful 4-day festival at Shannon Brown and Michael Finley’s former high school where they roamed the halls to start their basketball careers.
The event featured a carnival and concert performances by some of the top names in the music industry including Slick Rick, Naughty by Nature, MC Lyte, Nelly and Roscoe Dash from July 28-31.
Big Daddy Kane showing that he still has moves.
Brown and Finley’s intentions were for the event to be, “All about the kids,” and it turned out a success.
MC Lyte rocking the crowd on Friday night.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the charitable foundations of both Brown and Finley, as well as raising money for repairs and renovations at Proviso West, Proviso East and Proviso Math & Science Academy.