In making the announcement, motivational speaker, author and event creator, Mack McGhee, said he was inspired to convene A Night of Inspiration again because of the positive responses and outcomes from the 2008 event. Those who urged McGhee to sponsor the event in 2009 represent a cross section of representatives from law enforcement, churches, schools and everyday citizens who were transformed by the words of hope and inspired by the call to action.
Rev. Tommie Johnson, pastor of New Mt Moriah Church in Chicago, testified that those who felt alone in their battle to fight problems, found allies. "Through one event, we banded together, engaged in productive dialogue and committed to work together on projects to reduce violence. A year later, its impact can still be felt." Michael Robinson said before attending A Night of Inspiration in 2008, his life had little direction. After leaving the event last year, he acted on his dream of helping youth. Today, he says, he is active in the Englewood and Little Village communities. He has since two retreats in public schools aimed at helping youth find their purpose in life. "I give all credit to A Night of Inspiration for giving me clarity on finding my mission in life: to help youth.
Likewise, Janet Szydelko of TASC, (Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities) reflected on how she was touched by the overpowering message of A Night of Inspiration. "I left this event knowing that one person can make a small difference, but a lot of people can make a big difference. If I am not willing to be a part of my own community, I have no right to complain about what is wrong." Judy Anguiano of Chicago said her sister "dragged her to the event" last year and she expected to be bored. Instead, she said, "I was moved by the people, the stories and became cognizant of the importance of working together to better solve problems." She said the event was a "life-changing experience" that inspired her to become involved in the community.
McGhee said that the added problems that the recession has wrought on communities make the need for this year's event even more urgent. "Last year," noted McGhee, "the violence that invaded our communities demanded that we tailor our messages around arousing residents to action while providing a formula for hope and empowerment These words motivated those who attended to reconnect with their neighbors and their children and start the process of finding remedies for the problems that plague our cities. With millions of people losing their jobs, homes and a sense of hope, it is critical that we convene A Night of Inspiration 2009 to restore faith in our communities, encourage family unity and find strategies that will help residents become fiscally astute and financially literate. During these economically fragile times, we need to fired up so we can weather these tough economic times." McGhee said the speakers will uplift and inspire those facing job and home losses to find a way out of their current fiscal straits. "In spite of the global recession, there is a 'way out of no way.' Speakers appearing at A Night of Inspiration have been there and will provide a course of action that families can adopt."
McGhee said that this year's event will introduce a new feature: The Teen Inspiration Sensation. This new addition will showcase teen vocalists who will share their talents and their messages of hope through their voices and unique musical perspectives. "Because A Night of Inspiration is about solutions and bettering our communities, we encourage the family to come out to be inspired, uplifted and moved to action. With the event providing a platform for our next generation of leaders, the evening will be even more exciting."
Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. Discounted family packs are also available. To order, call 1-888-624-4333 or log on to anightofinspiration.com to purchase tickets on line. Proceeds will benefit the 100 Men Association of University Park, an agency devoted to uplifting youth and finding remedies to strengthen the family bond.