Community groups come together to keep peace, prevent violence over Memorial Day weekend

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start to summer, and often a violent one in Chicago, but several community groups have partnered to keep the peace.

A party at 67th Street and Hermitage Avenue was put together by a group called "Think Outside Da Block." The event included games and music for everyone from young children to adults, including bouncy houses and other attractions.

In one corner, kids were getting pony rides, and in another they were getting their faces painted. There was a giant chess board for big kids and plenty of food for a picnic atmosphere.

There was a petting zoo with animals many city kids rarely see up close.

"It's always great to come back to our community to do great things," Shohn Williams said.

The party will be one of a number of similar events around the city this weekend and gives people fun neighborhood activities to be a part of rather than getting into situations that lead to violence.

"We've been in the house clumped up for so long, so we need to get out and have fun," resident Tonya Woodfork said.

Memorial Day weekend is traditionally a time in Chicago when the number of crimes involving violence increases.

The group, "My Block, My Hood, My City," provided $150,000 in grants for the parties.

The Englewood event also has counselors on-site to talk to kids about some of the trauma they may have witnessed in the community. They are trying to help them recognize that violence is not normal.

At an event Saturday in Little Village, laptops on folding tables were set up to help those looking for jobs.

"Anytime we're able to create anything positive ... it pretty much deters the violence," said Pha'tal Perkins, with Think Outside Da Block.

There are a number of other events planned for Sunday and Monday as well.

"We're all winners in Englewood," resident Shajuana Brewer said.
Copyright © 2021 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.