'Love Fest' event seeks to curb gun violence in Chicago

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The "Love Fest" event in the city's Gresham neighborhood seeks to curb gun violence in the community. (WLS)

The inaugural "Love Fest" event was held Saturday afternoon in the city's Gresham neighborhood with hopes to promote peace and safety from gun violence in Chicago communities.

The event, which was held in the parking lot of the Kiddie Kottage Daycare at the corner of 87th and Damen Avenue, is the brainchild of the owners - sisters Phyllis Murray and Gwendolyn Martin.

"We just want to show love," Martin said.

The effort to unite communities comes after a man was killed and at least 19 others were wounded in gun violence on the city's South and West sides between early Friday afternoon and Saturday morning.
"It is about family coming together and showing the community we can do this," Murray said.

The "Love Fest" drew people from other communities who also hope to plan a similar event in their neighborhood to unite residents and curb gun violence.

Also Saturday, a free fair that discussed how black fathers can help prevent violence was also held.

"I think it's important for fathers to reclaim their families so they can reclaim their communities because they can make the difference with the violence that is happening on the streets," said J. Michael Carr Jr., of Fathers for the Future.

Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin spoke at the event and says many neighborhoods are under siege.

"A lot of this stuff is being driven by poverty and being driven by hopelessness," Boykin said. "If we invest in communities and people, I believe we can turn this around."

Friday night, a pop-up community party was held in the heart of the Englewood neighborhood. The event was part of the CHI-RISE movement, which uses the arts to promote unity.

"On a Friday night in Englewood where other things might be going on that may not be the most positive, it was all positivity (Friday) night," said organizer Messiah Equiano.
Related Topics:
chicago crimechicago shootingcommunityChicago - GreshamChicago - Englewood
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