CHICAGO (WLS) --In celebration of Black History Month, ABC 7 hosted Black Table on Monday, an event connecting African American community leaders and youth over lunch.
Eyewitness News Anchor Hosea Sanders hosted a casual conversation about what it takes to succeed, ways to make a difference and how important it is to leave a legacy. A dozen prominent figures in the African American community took the time to engage with middle school and high school students to show them they too can succeed.
"There were a lot of obstacles to overcome for all of us but there are people in our lives who encouraged us to do our best and to achieve and to dream big," said Sanders.
"You know it's really important to hear the voices of young people in our city. We talk so much about what's happening to them we really need to start listening to hear from them and work with them," said Cook County State's Attorney General Kim Foxx.
"A lot of us are from the same places in Chicago and have had similar experiences and I think it's important for me to share with them my story and they can see someone like them is doing what I do," said Kurt Summers, Treasurer of the City of Chicago.
"Definitely follow your dreams, but you also have to have a backup plan. If I didn't make it I got 2 degrees a bachelors and a masters, so my first advice is you definitely have to have a backup plan," said Charles "Peanut" Tillman, former Chicago Bears football player.
Students left Monday's event feeling inspired to make an impact and follow their dreams.
"It was very inspiring," said student Cierra Ray. "You learn so much that people go through in life and you'd think they won't go through that from day one but they end up going through some of the same struggles that we do."
"My experience today was over the top amazing I feel like I learned something new, and I changed a life and much of a better leader I want to bring that back to my community that there's nothing wrong with being who you are and you can always follow your dreams," said Brennan Evans.
BUILD Chicago and Strides for Peace were the community partners for Black Table.