Teens, adults rally to end violence in Chicago

May 9, 2009 3:36:04 PM PDT
everal efforts were under way Saturday to stop the violence in Chicago.Adults and young people gathered to march in protest but also to sit down to talk about solutions.

It appears marches similar to one taking place Saturday could be having an impact. A community came together for the weekend's a 1,000 Man March and Summit, as Chicago police release new data showing a drop in crime.

"One life, one kid is worth us getting outraged about," said Fr. Pfleger of Chicago's St. Sabina church.

The Chicago Police Department's preliminary statistics for April show an overall decline in violent crime of 2.8 percent, with decreases in most crime categories, especially in murders, which dropped nearly 20 percent compared to the same period last year.

Police Supt. Jody Weis says he's encouraged, but equally as cautious as the number of Chicago public school students falling victim to gang and gun violence grows. So far, 36 students have died this school year.

"Any child being killed is a real tragedy. They should be simply going to school, figuring out what they should be doing this summer. It's very sad. We're going to work real hard," said Weis.

Hundreds of teens held their own town hall meeting Saturday to question, as well as educate, city and state officials about the issues students face and what help they need to unite their communities to make them safer.

"This is the time where the youth can sit down and talk about what is going on. This is our opportunity," summit participant Jalesa Haggard said.

And while many in the city's neighborhoods hope for more peace in the streets, some worry that anti-violence rallies and marches just won't be enough to combat the summer heat and idle minds that often bring more bloodshed.

"I can't let my baby come out and play in Chatham on 87th and King Drive because they are having gang wars. This has to stop. If our babies are dying, what's our country going to look like tomorrow," said Wanda Woods, a parent who participated in Saturday's march.

The Chicago Police Department says it is now taking approximately 400 guns each week off the streets. What they say continues to concern them is that they also find at least one assault rifle in the bunch.


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