Peace marchers in West Garfield Park speak out against Chicago gun violence ahead of summer

Michelle Gallardo Image
Saturday, April 13, 2024
Peace marchers on West Side speak out against summer gun violence
A peace march was held Saturday in West Garfield Park, calling for peace ahead of summer, which typically marks an increase in Chicago gun violence.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A group on Chicago's West Side is getting ahead of what is an unfortunate commonality for the city in the summer: shootings.

The group of community leaders and those affected by gun violence marched Saturday, calling for peace this summer.

The peace march was born as a result of a conversation between two friends, recounting all the people they have each lost as a result of gun violence. The march itself is a small part of what is being planned by community groups, who said they are bringing gang leaders to the table in hopes of negotiating a summer peace treaty.

On foot and behind the wheel, dozens of walkers, along with dozens more Jeep owners, traversed a one-mile stretch of Madison Street between Hamlin and Kilpatrick, before turning back.

The West Garfield Park procession signaled a call for peace as the summer months rapidly approach.

"This is beautiful, just seeing just everybody just coming together as one," said Ray Jones with 7 Slot Platoon. "Because we're all hurting. We are saying enough is enough."

Among those behind the wheel Saturday was West Side resident Maria Rojano, who is still mourning the loss of her 17-year-old brother, Jesus. He was gunned down in May of last year.

"He was at a party with some friends... and two kids just decided to follow him outside and take his life, for no reason whatsoever," Rojano said.

Tamera Scott also attended, whose nephew Perry Anderson, a father of two, was shot and killed two years ago. His loss is still being felt.

"Now when we get together, we're just like, 'something's missing,'" Scott said. "Nobody wants to say what's missing... Perry is missing."

Even as they gathered in advance of Saturday's peace march, organizers said the event is about much more than symbolism.

Talei Thompson, founder of West Side Block Club Association, has been personally involved in bringing some of the West Side's gang leaders together for peace talks he hopes will bear fruit come Summer.

"We're having good conversations with those individuals, and we're looking forward to at some point a full truce, a full peace treaty," Thompson said.

Regardless of how those negotiations ultimately go, organizers of the march said they plan to continue working to provide safe spaces for children and adults this summer.