Bears Training Camp

Bears rookies tour Hyde Park businesses in honor of Juneteenth

The Bears got to meet some inspirational community leaders, and have some fun too.

NBC Universal, Inc.

The Bears took the rookies on a tour of some local businesses in Hyde Park in honor of Juneteenth on Monday. The players got to meet community leaders along the way and hear why the holiday is so important to them.

The first stop was Daisy’s Po Boy and Tavern where the Bears got to enjoy some New Orleans inspired food and got to meet James Beard Award winning chef Erick Williams. To Williams, Juneteenth is important because it’s a time of awareness for the Black community. 

“Currently it tells us the necessity for us to be able to communicate both about advocacy, about business practices and about our community,” Williams said in a video released by the Bears. “We want to be in the position where we can expand culture and the narrative of culture in a specific space. We didn’t just land in Hyde Park. We chose to be here. It’s a place that feels good to us. The community has embraced us.”

From there, the team went across the street to enjoy dessert at a Kilwins franchise owned by Jackie Jackson. She opened the store 11 years ago and told the team she was proud to extend her lease for another 20 years. Jackson describes herself as an entrepreneur and owns two more Kilwins locations in Chicago– one on Michigan Avenue and another at Navy Pier. She reportedly has plans to open two more. Lamont Robinson, 4th Ward Alderman, met up with the Bears at the Hyde Park Kilwins location and inspired the players to think big like Jackson.

“When you make all these millions of dollars, start a business so that you’re able to create opportunities for other people,” Robinson said. “You also never forget where you came from and you always give back.”

The messages throughout the day resonated with some of the players.

“So much is needed,” said defensive end D’Anthony Jones. “All the things we’ve been through, just to come together and show what kind of people we are, what we’re all about. It’s just really good all around.”

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