Community leaders go door-to-door to stop the violence

May 4, 2013 3:47:34 PM PDT
Several community leaders gathered with volunteers to go door-to-door in a new effort to stop the violence, with the aim of starting 10,000 conversations about the problems plaguing Chicago communities.

They're talking Chicagoan to Chicagoan about the violence that plagues some of the city's neighborhoods.

They call this new approach Community Action Day.

Equipped with questionnaires, teams of volunteers hit the streets hoping to spark conversations about what Chicago's neighborhoods need and what activities would have a positive impact on violence.

One of the groups was in the Uptown neighborhood.

"There's issues here too. Not as bad as some other parts of the city, but it's bad up here too," said Uptown resident David Klein.

This is the first year of the effort and is the brainchild of the All Stars Project of Chicago after a record number of homicides in the city in January.

"How could we have a different type of kind of response, a response that's bigger and broader, than just the narrow debates about guns and policing," said David Cherry.

More than two dozen community-based and youth organizations are involved, including Kids Off the Block and Ceasefire Illinois.

"If the young people come to us and say, "Look, we'll put our guns down and we'll stop trying to commit acts of violence, give us something else to do.'" So now we have an answer," said Ceasefire's Tio Hardiman.

That's a message that resonates with Chicago hip hop artist Sean "Solo Xquzit" Young.

"That we all artists should get together and try do something for the community because it doesn't take one person, it takes a variety of people," Young said.

Just like volunteers did on the North and West Sides, Minister Andrea Hood is listening in the West Englewood and Lawndale neighborhoods.

Through her I Can Outreach program, she wants to people to talk action block by block.

"I can, you can, we can together. That's where action comes in. We can do this together. Actions speak louder than words," she said.

West Englewood resident Desmond Butler hopes so.

The father of three who lost a brother to gun violence says something has to change so his community can be safe.

"Outreach is really great because we have a lot of young teenagers who really need it," he said.

The group plans to present a summary of the community feedback to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel as well as continue the campaign into the summer.


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