A nationwide bus tour with a focus on dreambuilding made its way to Chicago this weekend.
The Dream Village Tour presented by American Family Insurance has a focus on providing resources for working professionals and entrepreneurs, and is bringing communities together in cities across the country to encourage those people to work collectively.
Creator Eunique Jones Gibson, who gained notoriety with her “Because of Them We Can” viral campaign, wanted to create a mobile version of her Dream Village co-working space in Washington, D.C. So with help from American Family Insurance and OWN Network, Gibson took her show on the road packed with resources, activities, and discussions on how “it takes a village.”
The Chicago stop drew hundreds of attendees on Saturday, and Gibson talked about how she hoped the event inspired people to create their own villages of support here in Chicago.
Why the Dream Village Tour
Eunique Jones Gibson: I think we’re so used to having conversation behind computer screens and behind phone screens and behind monitors, and we’re not used to getting together and really being real about what our issues are, what our struggles are, and how we can help one another. And so the goal behind this Dream Village Tour was to mobilize the mission to rebuild “the village.” We all have dreams. … We just struggle to connect with other people who can share their struggles, share how they’ve overcome, and the goal here is to make sure that the platform extends beyond where our four walls might exist right outside of D.C. It’s to really mobilize the mission.
What Gibson wants people to take away
Gibson: [We] want to make sure that people are really reconnecting with one another and establishing or extending their village amongst the individuals that are in attendance. … A lot of times we have ideas, we have goals, and we have dreams. And we keep them to ourselves and we work in these silos. … And I would say that we need to really make sure that we’re extending our arms across and making sure that we’re connecting with people that can not only help keep us accountable but people we can hold accountable as well.
The moment she realized of her own dream
Gibson: I think it backs into my purpose, which is really to help people to see and be their best selves. And I can’t really recall a moment. I think there are a series of moments where I’m consistently convinced that this is the path that I’m supposed to be on. And I don’t think I’ve gotten to that moment yet where I’m like, “You know what? This is it.” I think that that’s what I’m working towards. And along the way, there are a lot of amazing things happening.
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity. Photos from the Dream Village Tour’s Chicago stop below:
The event was held at Little Black Pearl — an event space and art gallery in Chicago’s Kenwood neighborhood. Outside, the Proviso West High School Marching Band welcomed attendees, followed by formal introductions from 4th Ward Ald. Sophia King, emcee Micae Brown, and Dream Village creator Eunique Jones Gibson.
Inside of the brightly decorated tour bus, which was designed by Kiyonda Powell, has desk space, books, and room for co-working and meeting, as well art depicting famous dreamers Ida B. Wells and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Even the back of the Dream Village Tour bus has additional space for social interaction.
Inside Little Black Pearl, attendees take part in discussions on the topics of dreams, hustle, and village. They take a pledge to pursue their dreams and write thank-yous to their own village on a giant chalkboard. Also, local business owner Quentin Love of Turkey Chop received a $5,000 check presented by Dream Village and American Family Insurance for his business.
The kids weren’t left out of the day’s fun. The event included coding classes for kids on the bus, free haircuts, and face painting.
Arionne Nettles is a digital producer at WBEZ. Follow her on Twitter at @arialyssa.