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2015 Essence Music Festival - Day 3

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Oscar-winning rapper and Chicago native wants to help heal his hometown from gun violence with the help of a new initiative.

According to the Huffington Post, the actor partnered with the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation for the second installment of the organization’s Park Exchange event series on June 11. 

Serving as the event’s host and honorary grand Marshall, Common hopes that in spite of the incessant violence in the city, he hopes that seeing the city’s numerous national monuments will inspire them. 

“As we all know, it’s been a struggle here in Chicago with violence. So first and foremost, I just want them to come out and feel good, feel happy and celebrate,” he said to HuffPost.

He also hopes that this initiative along with his own Common Ground Foundation will help Chicago youth stay off the streets and out of trouble. 

“If I can bring some peace and some hope, and some dreams through the music and through this whole celebration of the national parks, that’s what I want people to leave with,” he said. 

Yet, he stresses that this anti-violence work has to also come from those who live in Chicago in order to make a real difference in their community.

“It’s important that the community, we take our own destiny in our hands and start figuring out programs and things that we can do. Schooling our kids, and supporting within our communities which creates finance, which helps get people off the street. ‘Cause, if you have money and a job you’re more likely to be productive,” he said. 


#PrayForChicago: Common Wants To Bring ‘Peace’ And ‘Hope’ To Chi-Town  was originally published on