Chicago communities walk against violence as mayor rolls out new summer safety plan

Saturday, May 25, 2024
Communities walk against violence as mayor rolls out safety plan
Communities are hoping to galvanize forces to stand up against the gang violence and Chicago shootings some associate with the start of summer.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- This weekend, there were efforts across the city dedicated to stopping gun violence.

Despite the different approaches, everyone's mission was the same: to keep kids and communities safe this summer.

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A neighborhood stood together as they protested against gun violence on Saturday afternoon.

The same violence nearly robbed Maria Quinones' 4-year-old grandson of his life last month when gang crossfire left him shot in the stomach.

"We actually heard shots, and I told him to get down, because they were shooting. He said, 'Aw.' My daughter said, 'Mom, he got shot,'" Quinones said.

The demand for peace in Humboldt Park came as the community gathered for their 29th Annual Youth for Peace Walk.

"We love our community. We love Humboldt Park, and we want to be safe. Therefore, we're going to contribute to what that looks like," said 26th Ward Alderperson Jessie Fuentes.

Like in years past, the community's youth was joined by local service organizations and others come together before summer begins to call for peace.

SEE ALSO | Chicago shootings: At least 10 shot, 2 killed in Memorial Day weekend violence across city, CPD says

It was much the same message on the city's South Side.

"It's just been getting more and more out of control, and I feel like it's time we bring the attention to the streets," said community resident Brian Stewart.

There, neighborhood residents led by Pastor John Hannah and his congregation at New Life Covenant Church, Prayer on the 9, marched across 79th Street to decry the violence.

"Everyone has to stand up and scream, regardless. This is not OK. It's not OK, and we say to the parents, 'Get your kids,'" Hannah said.

The weekend events follow Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson's unveiling of his summer safety plan, which focuses on creating anti-violence programs, paid jobs and mentorships for kids and a charge to train 100 youth peacekeepers.

On Saturday afternoon, while speaking about his strategy, Johnson criticized previous administrations for not investing in the city and its youth.

"They have run this city to the ground, but now, you have progressive leadership that's invested in people to building it up," Johnson said.

Many communities are hoping to galvanize forces to stand up against the gang and gun violence some associate with the start of the summer season.

In the coming weeks, Chicago's summer safety plan will kick into high gear.