Hopelink is excited to welcome Common as our guest speaker at the 28th Annual Reaching Out Luncheon! Common is an award-winning artist, actor, author, and activist who’s broken down barriers with both his musical artistry and critically acclaimed roles in both film and TV. Additionally, Common has dedicated countless hours and has been deeply engaged in social justice and advocacy work throughout his career. When it came time for Hopelink to choose a partner to help raise $1 million for our community at this year’s Luncheon, we found the perfect fit with Common. Here’s why.

What is Common best known for?

Hailing from Chicago’s Southside, his 1992 debut album Can I Borrow a Dollar? garnered him a significant following and he later found more mainstream acclaim with his major-label debut album Like Water for Chocolate in 2000. Three years later, he won his first Grammy Award for his feature on Erykah Badu’s “Love of My Life (An Ode to Hip-Hop)” and has since released 14 studio albums, collaborated with some of the most acclaimed names in music, has won a total of three Grammy Awards, and received 16 total Grammy nominations.

After finding success in music, Common made his cinematic debut in Smokin’ Aces in 2006. His performance in films such as Selma, John Wick 2, and The Barbershop drew praise from both audiences and critics. For his role as civil rights leader James Bevel in Ava DuVernay’s Selma, Common won an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in 2015. Also, for Selma, he won the Academy Award, Grammy, and Golden Globe for Best Original Song for “Glory,” which he co-wrote and performed with John Legend.

Why Common and Hopelink?

Outside of his artistry, Common is deeply engaged in movements for equal access – some of these directly falling into alignment with Hopelink’s services. Rooted in decades of Common’s leadership as an activist and change maker, the Chicago-based organization Free to Dream is a movement and social venture designed to nurture the hope, health, and dreams of people from all walks of life, especially those for whom opportunities to thrive haven’t been equally distributed.

Throughout his career, Common is a leader who’s embraced evolution – whether it’s been venturing from music to acting or expanding his activism to embrace the needs of a changing world.

Like Common, Hopelink has evolved for over 52 years to provide the best support possible for our community. With rapidly changing demographics and soaring costs of living, Hopelink is poised to evolve once again. We can’t think of anyone better to stand with us in this change than Common.

What can you expect at Reaching Out Luncheon?

Besides getting to mingle with others who share the dedication to end poverty in our region, a delicious complementary meal, and getting to see the collaboration between Hopelink and Common come to life – you’ll get a unique insight into Hopelink’s work.

If you want more details, you’ll just have to register and then wait and see for all the excitement we have in store! Reaching Out Luncheon is truly a magical reunion for our whole community, and whether this year is your first or your fifth time attending, we guarantee you’ll come away energized and inspired.