Chicago anti-violence events hope to encourage peace 4th of July weekend

Sunday, July 4, 2021
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The anti-violence efforts are happening as neighborhoods on Chicago's south and west sides continue to be plagued by gang and gun violence.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A South Shore neighborhood came together Saturday in hopes of stopping the violence.

The Peace Over East event took over Hasan Park for a peaceful celebration over the 4th of July holiday weekend.

There was a similar effort in the city's Englewood neighborhood earlier Saturday as the Mr. Dad's Father's Club sponsored a march for peace and unity to recognized Black fathers as positive role models making a difference.

"We do it for the babies. We are so glad to have so many babies out here able to enjoy themselves," said Joseph Williams with the Mr. Dad's Father's Club.

The anti-violence efforts are happening as neighborhoods on Chicago's south and west sides continue to be plagued by gang and gun violence.

Meanwhile, Chicago police officers posted up at the corner of 75th And Prairie Avenue in the city's Chatham neighborhood where the was a mass shooting a few weeks ago, in an effort to show their community presence.

"So far this weekend, we've had our challenges overnight but we are determined to make this a safe holiday weekend for everyone," said Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown.

"We want to make sure that we have our officers in our areas," said Jennifer Edwards with Communities Organized to Win.

There are more events planned for Sunday as efforts continue to try and stop the violence.

West Side mothers fast to call attention to Chicago violence

A group of mothers are making a sacrifice this weekend in hopes of calling attention to the issue of violence in the community.

They got little sleep, if any, last night and zero nutrition as they continue on their fast.

The four mothers are only allowing themselves water.

"We must love our children enough to sacrifice. We will fast for 3 days," said Pastor Jacqueline Reed with Every Block a Village Church.

The violence in Chicago is personal for Jackie Guider.

"I'm here because I want to see our children grow up," she said.

She lost her son Chavaris to gun violence five years ago and since that time, she said the problem has gotten even more serious.

"Their effort comes during the Fourth of July weekend -- what is traditionally a violent time in Chicago," Guilder said. "They have a tent to sleep in but sleep is not why they are here."

"There's too much bloodshed," said activist Erica Perkins. "We have to sacrifice."

It's one of several anti-violence efforts around the city this weekend, including one just down the block that was organized by the Peacemakers Coalition.

The effort by the women has no financial backing and is about as grassroots as gets.

For these mothers, it comes from a desire to help their community and from their faith.

"I never thought so many of our kids die. It saddens me. It angers me," said Siri Hibbler with the Garfield Park Chamber of Commerce.

At this point they are halfway through, hoping more people will take notice.