The Hottest Club in Chicago: Club 51
The Hottest Club in Chicago wraps up yet another successful winter at Club 51.
Aleta and her Club 51 crew, have completed their 2019 winter with the friends at the 51st Street Wentworth Police Station, 5101 S. Wentworth Avenue. After naming CEO of the Cool Kids clothing line, Damien, aka Cool Kid DJ President of Club 51, it’s time to get ready for #summertimechi.
“I’m from Chicago and we’ve been coming down here. I’ve been homeless for about 4 years now. And since we been coming down here we came across Club 51 at the police station. From there they just been taking things on their own. Aleta has just been talking to people on the internet and telling people to come out and volunteer and since then it’s been some people coming and helping out and volunteering…” said Dametrius, who is a winter resident at the 51st Street Police Station.
Club 51 started in 2016 when Aleta aka Englewood Barbie went to pick her brother up from jail. She noticed there were people sleeping at the station and decided to start feeding them. “The Friends” are Chicago residents who utilize the 51st street police station as a warming center during the brutal Chicago winters.
“I asked the police officers if it was okay if I fed the people that were sleeping in here and when they told me I could, I just went crazy. It just went from me feeding them for one night to me feeding them for a month and then it turned into 7 months. It’s not just about me feeding them, feeding them was just my way in. I wanted to get to know them. I wanted to love on them and give them a sense of integrity again. I wanted to help them in any way I could, it ain’t got nothin’ to do with my status because I’m just a regular person. I just wanted to make sure that at least for the winter they know there’s somebody that loves them”, said Englewood Barbie.
Her organization “Hugs No Slugs” promotes love in the city of Chicago and centers events for the youth and whomever else chooses to take part in the movement. The “Hugs No Slugs” movement has been receiving a good response thus far and not only has she been able to pull donations from local businesses and volunteers, she has also managed to get a dedicated team for Club 51.
“So [my son’s] big sister was acting out in school and I was showing her the consequences of her actions. I brought her [to the 51st Street Police Station] and we walked right pass Aleta’s table. She saw her crying and she [asked] ‘can I just talk to her for a second’, and she was just talking to her and had her cleaning up and telling her to respect her mother because [she] lost [her mother]. Ever since then [DJ] has been wanting to come back. If I try not to come he’ll cry or [ask] can we go feed the friends”, said Shajuanda, mother of Cool Kid DJ.
DJ and his mother have been part of Club 51 since he was 5 years old, he is now 7 and growing his own clothing brand called Cool Kids. After naming DJ President of Club 51, Aleta can now focus on her summer endeavors for the “Hugs No Slugs” movement.
“Hugs no slugs - more love less killing. So what I do with the organization is that I try to implement love into the whole city whichever way I can whether I’m doing a big event for kids to be safe and get their needs met or with the friends… mentoring or whatever it is I can do that will help make my city better and shine light on the hood in positive outlook, that’s what I do”, said Englewood Barbie.
Because the 51st street police station is a warming center and April is usually when the weather begins to change, the station does not open up as a warming center again until October. Although Club 51 will be taking a well-deserved summer break, the “Hugs No Slugs” movement continues. Aleta recently kicked off the new season with an All-Start basketball game featuring some relevant Chicago celebs like Lil Dirk, Dlow, Black Ink Crew and more.
“I definitely get a lot of support. I plan on having a shelter soon that’s the goal. The Friends, a lot of them are receptive but the newer ones are a little scared because they’re just not used to something like this happening all the time… somebody that’s really all in they’re face all in they’re business showing them mad love every single night but everybody is appreciative”, said Aleta.
Be sure to follow the “Hugs No Slugs” Movement and contribute the best way you can. As we shift into a safe Chicago summer full of fun, remember more love and less killing.