H-F alum Destiny Watson, class of 2016, describes her journey to becoming an award-winning entrepreneur during the Pursuing the Dream event at H-F High School on Jan. 24. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
Education

Pursing the Dream program features women leaders

The eighth annual Pursuing the Dream program at Homewood-Flossmoor High School on Jan. 24 continued the tradition of celebrating the legacy of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., but the event focused more on honoring some of the women who devoted their lives to the fight for justice.

(Editor’s note: This story ran in the February 2024 print edition and should have been posted on the web early that month. We apologize for the oversight.}

Keynote speaker Michelle Duster traces the parallels in biography and spirit between her great-grandmother, Ida B. Wells-Barnett and Martin Luther King Jr. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
Keynote speaker Michelle Duster traces the parallels in biography
and spirit between her great-grandmother, Ida B. Wells-Barnett
and Martin Luther King Jr. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)

Keynote speaker Michelle Duster gave King the most attention as she traced the similarities between him and her great-grandmother, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, the famed journalist and suffragist who preceded him.

She noted that there were some superficial similarities. Both King and Wells-Barnett had four children, two boys and two girls, for example. Both were middle class, educated and married activists. Both started their activism when they were in their 20s.

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They also shared key personality traits, including strong faith and tenacity in the face of daunting resistence and danger. Both remained true to their convictions and focused on the long term struggle for equality and truth, she said.

And both rose to the challenge when leadership was needed.

“I believe circumstances pushed them into leadership roles. I don’t think they woke up one day and had their five-year plan and decided ‘I’m going to take on the world,’” she said. “Things happened, and they had it within them to take on leadership roles.”

H-F alum Destiny Watson, class of 2016, describes her journey to becoming an award-winning entrepreneur during the Pursuing the Dream event at H-F High School on Jan. 24. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
H-F alum Destiny Watson, class of 2016, describes her journey
to becoming an award-winning entrepreneur during the Pursuing
the Dream event at H-F High School on Jan. 24.
(Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)

H-F High alum Destiny Watson told the story about how she started a youth leadership and empowerment non-profit organization, You Matter 2, while she was a student. The organization has grown to include numerous service projects and programs to help students grow and develop.

You Matter 2 also organizes the H-F Juneteenth Festival, the largest such event in the South Suburbs, Watson said.

The evening was filled with music, dance and spoken word performances, including by the Inspirational Voices Ensemble; the H-F step team Vi-Kings and Queens of Xcellence; Footwork Crew; and Jazmin Rhodes, who performed a Ted Talk by actor Sheryl Lee Ralph.

H-F High Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Coordinator Catherine Ross-Cook directed the event. She gave a shout-out to the members of Black sororities and fraternities in attendance.

She also invited three members of the H-F Dad Squad to the stage to present bouquets of flowers to their daughters.

H-F High Principal Clinton Alexander gave the closing remarks.

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