CHICAGO (CBS) — Thousands of young volunteers were gathering at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont on Thursday, for a concert marking the first We Day in Illinois.

We Day is part of a global movement rooted in activism, charity, and social change. It features marketers, entrepreneurs, and some of Chicago’s most famous recording artists.

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Academy Award winners Common and Jennifer Hudson were just two of many musicians slated to perform Thursday. Two high school marching bands – from King College Prep and Lemont High School – will be performing behind Hudson as part of the event.

Actress & recording star Selena Gomez and others walked the red carpet Thursday morning outside Allstate Arena.

We Day is an initiative of “Free The Children,” an international charity focused on activism, ranging from helping developing communities overseas to food banks in your neighborhood.

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The first We Day was held in 2007 in Toronto, and has expended its reach since then.

Inspiring others is why the stars were out Thursday in Rosemont.

“One heart with courage is a majority, and all of these kids are being celebrated here today because they have shown great courage in their communities, and their schools, and their families, and their churches,” actor Martin Sheen said.

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Schools got free tickets to the concert by performing both a global and a local act of volunteerism or charity.