Little Village community marches for peace amid growing racial tension

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Racial tensions in Chicago are running high as some Little Village residents said they've seen an increase in Latino gang activity against African Americans who live in and visit the community.

Marchers who gathered at 26th St. and Albany Ave. Wednesday morning condemned that violence, calling on black and brown communities to unite.

"Yes there was violence," said Fanny Diego with El Foro Del Pueblo. "Yes brown people hurt black people, and yes, the police stood by and did nothing."

There was a call for peace and solidarity as several hundred people marched under the arch welcoming all to Little Village at 26th Street and Albany Ave.

"Our lives as brown people are connected to the lives of black people. We will never get respect until black people get respect," Diego said.

Organizers said there have been instances of increased Latino gang activity in Little Village targeting African Americans after chaos downtown moved to neighborhoods in the past few days of unrest.

"It's important for us to be here to denounce the actions of my community against the black community," said Rebecca Martinez, who helped lead the march.

Martinez said she wants anyone with violence on their mind to know, "We believe that black lives matter, and when they begin to matter, our lives will also matter."

Justin White, who lives in Little Village, was also out marching for peace.

"Living in Little Village, I'm very exhausted. I'm afraid for my life, but I need to make my voice as heard as it can be, because I love the people in this neighborhood," White said. "I love my black people as well. So coming together right now is the most important thing we can do."

He said it's about building a community that's safe for everyone.

"Black people like myself right now, we're definitely not the enemy. We're trying to make everybody come together as much as we can so we can live together in love as a peaceful community."
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