January 17, 2020
CUL President and CEO Karen Freeman-Wilson attends "Just Mercy" Screening with League's Youth
After a host of meetings and routine duties, Karen Freeman-Wilson concluded her first official day as CUL President and CEO at a screening of the film "Just Mercy" with a group of youth from Project Ready and EmpowerYouth!

"It was the perfect way to end my first day," said Freeman-Wilson, who rode the bus and chatted with students about their interests and involvement at the League.

"Just Mercy," which stars Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx, is an actual account of events experienced by Bryan Stevenson who, after law school, heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned or those not afforded proper representation. One of his first cases is that of Walter McMillian, who is sentenced to die in 1987 for the murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite evidence proving his innocence. In the years that follow, Stevenson encounters racism and legal and political maneuverings as he tirelessly fights for McMillian's life.

An additional discussion about the film is being planned between Freeman-Wilson and the youth who attended the screening.

"It was a powerful and emotional film, and I want to get their reactions around the injustices of our judicial system then and now," said Freeman-Wilson.
Metroboard Spreads Holiday Cheer
with Adopt-a-Family Program
Last week, the Metropolitan Board of the Chicago Urban League hosted its Annual Adopt-A-Family event. This initiative provides needed items and gifts for a deserving family around the holidays. The League's Center for Student Development chose a family and Metroboard members cheerfully raised donations to purchase the gifts.
Entrepreneur Spotlight on Jorema Gorham,
Founder of Burst into Books
Led by CEO Jorema Gorham, Burst Into Books is a literary nonprofit organization for children ages 6 months to 18. The organization's mission is to help children develop a love for literature through reading circles, book clubs, writing workshops, online workshops, educational services and family-centered events.

"At Burst into Books, we seek to help youth deepen their love of reading by integrating the arts, providing opportunities for them to engage with literary experts and authors and providing a space for self-expression," said Gorham.

Burst Into Books was established in August 2018 and has impacted over 1,000 children through its programs. The organization also hosted 20 events during its first year that focused on literacy including a boys’ conference titled “Changing the Narrative: Journey to Manhood.” Other events included a girls’ conference titled “Remixing the Narrative: From Me to We” and a Juneteenth Family Celebration at the Dan Ryan Woods.

Burst Into Books has been a Chicago Urban League client since November 2018. Representatives participated in the League's Entrepreneur Summit and nextStartup Fall 2019 cohort.

“The Chicago Urban League has assisted our company by providing personal business coaching, workshops, the entrepreneur summit and connecting me with others who partner with me in my business," said Gorham. "I truly value the wealth of knowledge that the Chicago Urban League provides for me as a startup.”