BUILD the Black Table event gives Chicago students chance to network with top Black professionals

Jasmine Minor Image
Monday, February 19, 2024
BUILD the Black Table event gives Chicago students chance to network
ABC7 Chicago's Jasmine Minor emceed the BUILD the Black Table event Monday. BUILD has Austin and Humboldt Park locations.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago students got the chance to network with top professionals during the annual "BUILD the Black Table" event Monday.

BUILD stands for Broader Urban Involvement & Leadership Development.

ABC7 Chicago's Jasmine Minor emceed Monday's luncheon.

Obstacles fell to the wayside, and dreams became possible at the eighth annual BUILD the Black Table event.

"My mentor went through a lot of things, and he doesn't let the bad things get to him," said 14-year-old Dion Stamps, a BUILD student.

The event is a chance for middle and high school students from all over the city to network with top Black professionals.

Stamps said Monday helped him get one step closer to being a professional basketball player.

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"Something that inspired me was 'always chase your dreams,'" Stamps said.

"Even though it's like hard to have goals and hard to accomplish those goals, it will be easier once you have people around you that support you," said Faith Vaccaro, a BUILD student.

For Vaccaro, that dream is going to culinary school. She said the Black Table event taught her she doesn't have to stop there. Her dream can grow.

She wants to open 20 restaurants.

"Every year I'm so impressed that they're brave enough to engage in a dialogue and ask some real important questions," BUILD CEO Adam Alonso said.

They also get the best advice for achieving success from more than 25 professionals in health care, sports, entrepreneurship and media.

The students were also told to write "thank you" emails and cards to all the mentors they learned from Monday.

"Be bold; take a chance. It's a safe space that we create here," Alonso said.

BUILD has locations in Austin and Humboldt Park.

Visit to learn more.