STANDING OUTSIDE THE FAITH Community of St. Sabina, the Rev. Michael L. Pfleger Father announced Thursday a gun buyback to fight violence plaguing Chicago’s streets and amid his church’s ongoing annual “Friday Night Peace March,” which kicked off at the start of the summer.
In the wake of three mass shootings, Pfleger expressed frustration and outrage during a press conference.
“Last night, we had three mass shootings in Chicago, two on the West Side, and one on a party bus in Old Town,” said Pfleger. “Chicago is out of control, gun violence is killing our children, and blood is running through our streets.”
The gun buyback will begin next week (starting on Monday, July 26) and continue, Pfleger said, until the $25,000 provided by a donor for this purpose had been exhausted.
By Samantha Latson
The group—men, women and children—followed Father Michael L. Pfleger’s lead. They kneel and place their palms where blood had been shed. “Peace, peace, peace,” the crowd of dozens shout in unison, commanding the streets and all within earshot to yield to their prayer for change.
Months later, with summer well ended and the first snow of winter already fallen, the marcher’s voices and chants still fill my head. Their hope. Their journey through some of Chicago’s deadliest streets in their fight to turn the cycle of violence around. I still see them, hear them clearly. And I doubt that I will ever forget.
"I learned that beyond the stereotypical stories that plague Black communities there are vibrant complex stories of daily life."
|Father Michael L. Pfleger leads Peace Marchers in prayer at corner where two people were shot.|
|Pallbearers carry the casket of Marquise Richardson to an idling hearse.|
TEARS. THE PIANO PLAYED HAUNTINGLY, the soloist’s voice floating above the tears and sorrow inside this airy sanctuary on a somber Wednesday morning. Tears for Marquise. Tears for all Chicago children shot or slain. Agony and rivers of bitter tears.
Endless tears over the gunfire that crackles across this bleeding city, claiming the innocent and young with no relenting. That steals our children almost from the cradle.
That now rings with numbing normalcy and largely is reduced to the weekend newspaper round-up. That robs us all of hope and humanity, leaving a trail of carnage wrought by evil.
|Members of "Purpose Over Pain" gather outside of St. Sabina for the 2021 Summer Peace March.|
Genell Taylor marched through South Side streets with members and supporters of the Faith Community of St. Sabina, chanting and clutching a portrait of her 14-year-old son. Taylor, 56, had only recently lost her son Tyrese Taylor to gun violence.
Despite her grief, or perhaps partly to help her deal with it, she found it important to plant her feet on Chicago’s streets, comforted by other mothers present who know what it means to walk in her shoes.
“I just want to honor my baby because he was murdered,” Taylor said, standing outside the rectory at St. Sabina on a summer night in June after a Peace march.
Taylor’s son was murdered just days earlier, according to police, fatally shot on June 10, outside their North Lawndale home on the city’s West Side.
She said that as a mother she had strived to do what any good parent hopes to achieve: To raise her son and to shield him from hurt, harm and danger.