Anti-violence group seeks to create 'safe space' at Englewood gathering over Memorial Day weekend

Cate Cauguiran Image
Monday, May 29, 2023
Anti-violence group creates 'safe space' over Memorial Day weekend
Mayor Brandon Johnson and MASK are hoping to combat Englewood, Chicago violence with a Memorial Day weekend gathering for the community.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago's safety plan is being put to the test this Memorial Day weekend, hoping to curb what has been a historically violent weekend for the city.

So far, dozens have been shot and at least nine families are grieving the loss of a loved one.

William Hair's family spoke with ABC7 about his last moments before he was shot in killed in Lakeview early Saturday.

"He was there with his best friend. They pulled up. Didn't have a chance to do anything. His best friend thank god was with him and valiantly tried to save his life and performed CPR helped him breathe. My son fought for his life but, he was gone," said Bill Hair, William's father.

Hair, 35, was one of five people shot over the past four days along a half mile stretch of Broadway Avenue in Lakeview. The latest one took place near Broadway and Barry overnight. Police are increasing patrols in that area for the rest of the long weekend.

SEE ALSO | Chicago shootings: 41 shot, 9 fatally, in Memorial Day weekend gun violence across city, CPD says

In Englewood, the focus is on community at the corner of 75th and Stewart. Neighbors gathered together in the same place they have for nearly 10 years.

"We need to commit to creating safer neighbors every single day. If shootings are going to happen every day, things like this have to happen every day," said Mothers & Men Against Senseless Killings Founder and President Tamar Manassah.

This gathering, hosted by MASK, created a space to people to bond with one another.

"This is a safe space where people can come. We have adults and elders playing spades. We have kids in the bouncy house," Manassah said.

This year, Mayor Brandon Johnson took his turn at a round of cards to fight crime by forging friendships and familiarity.

"We all are known to each other. We just have to give that an opportunity to actually be expressed or to be shown so we provide spaces so that people can come out and just get to know each other, to reconnect with each other," Manassah said.

Manassah, the organization's founder, said the mayor's visit and the city's investment in grassroots organizations has given her a new hope for the safety of Chicago's summer.