Strides for Peace race raises money for Chicago anti-violence neighborhood groups

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The 6th annual Strides for Peace Race against Gun Violence was held in Grant Park Thursday evening.

Chicago is too often described as a tale of two cities, but not here, not tonight.

"Having everybody on the same ground, touching shoulders, dancing together, seeing each other where they normally never even share the same space is a huge part of planting seeds for peace," said Mary Stonor Saunders, executive director at Strides for Peace.

The race is about small steps forward that, together, complete a journey. It raised more than $100,000 for neighborhood groups that do much of the work to fight violence.

"A lot of the big organizations...get the funds, and I get it, but the smaller organizations also need help because we're doing the same fight, just as the bigger organizations," said Antonio Davis, Paving the Way Project.

"We need lots of resources. They go to good kids who want to do good things and just don't have the opportunity and advantage because of where they live," said Dr. Markeyta Boone, New Community Outreach.

The event came on the heels of two deadly weekends in Chicago, in which at least 90 people were shot.

"All of us in government do everything we can think we can achieve, but really I'm beginning to believe this is what it's all about: the grassroots efforts, the neighborhood efforts," said Senator Dick Durbin, who attended the race.

"Ultimately it's about love because, you know what, we only fight for what we love," Saunders said.

Much of the money raised tonight, for dozens of neighborhood groups, will support much-needed programs for young people this summer.
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