Last Friday, a group of Mercy Home boys and girls attended a special screening of the blockbuster superhero movie, “Black Panther,” at the Studio Movie Grill theater in Chatham. Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to actress Karimah Westbrook and actor Craig Robinson – both Chicago natives – for donating the tickets and giving our kids the opportunity to be a part of such a powerful moment in cinema.

Social Works, Chance The Rapper’s youth empowerment organization, helped organize the event. Prior to the movie, the group set up a DJ booth and gave away backpacks containing “Black Panther” toys, movie posters, hair care products, and Michael Jordan pins. As they waited, our kids enjoyed dancing to the music and watching a drone camera fly overhead as they discussed how excited they were to see the movie. When it was show time, our kids received complimentary popcorn and soda before entering the theater.

“It was amazing!” said Tiberias, a young man living at Mercy Home. “I loved everything about it – the action, thrill, and just the excitement of the movie coming out.”

The movie generated non-stop rave reviews from those who went, and many of our kids picked up on some larger underlying themes beneath the thrilling action.

“Be yourself, stay together, and be as one. Don’t follow bad people and stay on the right path.”

“It’s the best movie I’ve ever seen! I was on the edge of my seat,” said Tyrese, a Mercy Home youth. “But the movie also reminded me that family is important.”

Stephan, another young man from Mercy Home, agreed. He too saw the importance of family in “Black Panther.” He also recognized how the movie amplified that pride to a larger audience.

“It was educational and really spoke to the black community,” he said. “The characters helped their tribe, if someone got in trouble. And even if someone betrayed them, they still forgave them. It showed me how important it is to be loyal to the tribe.”

Stephan loved the movie – especially its message – and he now carries that wisdom with him.

“Be yourself, stay together, and be as one,” he said. “Don’t follow bad people and stay on the right path.”

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