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As the school year comes to an end, and measures are out in place for the city of Chicago to “reopen” in June, young people are looking for ways to stay safe and engaged during the summer months.

The “My Chi. My Future.” Initiative, launched by Amy Eshleman and Deputy Mayor for Education and Human Services Sybil Madison is helping the city’s youth with those concerns. In essence, “My Chi. My Future.” is Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s youth-focused campaign. It was put together to connect the youth to resources, workshops, jobs, mental wellness information, and a few extremely dope interactive platforms. Including weekly open mics! 

“Some communities don’t have as many of these opportunities as others or don’t have as rich a number of opportunities as other communities. There are communities in which young people and their families are afraid — there are physical and emotional barriers in just moving around,” Madison said. “And then there’s just barriers in terms of information. A big part of this effort is putting all these opportunities in one place, so it’s easier for caring adults to have the information that youth needs to connect to these opportunities.”

Work to launch the website began last year. The official announcement for the launch of the “My Chi. My Future.” website and social media campaign came this past Saturday during an invite-only virtual youth summit. Which was followed by a virtual concert featuring Chicago Artists, including Jeremih. 

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I caught up with Jeremih’s manager and long time friend Adam Smith following the concert. “It feels good to have a Mayor of Chicago who genuinely cares about their constituents, communities, and actually listens to the ideas and concerns of everyone; young and old, black and white, gay and straight. You want to respect a leader like that.” Smith added “And for Jeremih to create a song with his son and nieces to perform is just dope on so many levels. Chicago has some great positive influencers during these trying times.” 

The virtual concert was closed out with Jeremih performing his hit single “On Chill” and double-platinum single “Oui” before finishing with an unreleased song and performance featuring his son, nieces, and rapper Chi-Hoover. 

This was an amazing kick-off to what for sure will be an interesting summer. We all have to adapt. Luckily there is political leadership worth mentioning to help us.