Activists march to stop the violence on Southwest Side

January 28, 2010 4:47:39 PM PST
Students and community members joined the organization Ceasefire for a march against violence near Chicago's Hubbard High School Thursday evening. A 15-year-old boy was shot and seriously wounded in the neighborhood on Tuesday.

The 15-year-old victim in the shooting is listed in stable condition. He was shot in the back by a suspect that some believe was another teenager. The rally intended to call attention to the situation but also to try to prevent any retaliation.

They want people to know they are here and they care about the community. That's why they want to try to stop the violence here in this Southwest Side area.

"We got to get the word out there this has to stop. Teenage killings, teenage shootings. And the young man lost his father to gun violence. It is bad. It is bad. This is really sad," said Donna Marquez, slain officer's sister and activist.

Ceasefire organized the rally in response to Tuesday's shoot off a 15-year-old high school student. They marched, offered prayers and passed out leaflets.

The message is simple. Stop the violence. Accomplishing it will take more effort.

"It is very important to have the right people talk to them every step of the way, and even if you had to spend time with them 24 hours a day after the initial argument, because that's the way you prevent conflicts from escalating to violence," said Tio Hardeman, Ceasefire.

"They provide mentorship, they provide opportunities, summer jobs, things for the young people to do so they finish school, they graduate, they go on to college and get a good job," said Rudy Lozano, activist.

Family members of the 15-year-old freshman are concentrating on his recovery at the hospital. Police say an apparent argument Tuesday afternoon at 63rd and Springfield led to the shooting. The victim, shot in the back, ran about a block to the school for help.

Police Superintendent Jody Weis on the scene said cameras captured the shooting and may help ID the suspect.

Other Hubbard students were locked inside the school in the aftermath and many are still frightened.

"When the guy got shot I was in school and I got scared. I didn't want to come to school the next day, but I had to because we had finals," said Shakella Muhammed, Hubbard High School student.

The Ceasefire officials are hoping to meet with the victim and other students to carry the message further.

Police are still investigating at this point and no one is in custody.