The streets of Chicago are heating up and I do not mean the summer like weather conditions. Over the past 72 hours seven people have been murdered and over 41 have been treated in local hospitals for injures related to gun shots. Chicago’s mayor Rahm Emanuel has come forward with transparency stating he is not sure what the cure is, but he knows it has a lot to do with community assistance and potential witnesses coming forward.
In Chicago, like many dense urban communities, there is a strange code of silence. Those most affected by the violence are often the ones refusing to come forward and identify the assailants. In a desperate plea for justice, many activists from the neighborhoods are hosting what’s being called ‘Chicago Night Out’. This is an initiative supported by City Hall where block captains, leaders and churches comb the streets of Chicago in masses hoping to deter any further violence. What they are finding is the community at large has lost confidence in their police to serve and protect them after they have become a cooperating witness.
The victims from this week’s lay range in age from 16 to 40. As it seems, no one is spared from the gun fire. Hospital staffs have responded by calling in off duty nurses and doctors to be on hand for the ‘weekend rush’. It makes you wonder what really needs to happen to see the city turn around.
“I had a family from my parish tell me recently that their 10-year-old son didn’t want to come back to Chicago from vacation because of the violence,” said the Rev. Michel Pfleger of St. Sabina Catholic Church, in the UPI report.
Father Michael Pfleger of Saint Sabrina has launched an all out war against guns, violence and economic equality. Known in Chicago as the renegade priest, he is not opposed to getting down and dirty with the issues of his beloved city. Born from German American parents and raised on the south side of Chicago, he has been a well loved priest since the 1970’s. Pfleger is no stranger to controversy. In the early 80’s against the directives of the Archdiocese, he adopted an eight year old son. His work has helped build bridges between the haves and the overwhelming have not’s in the community.
There seems to be urgency amongst Chicago’s natives to preserve its historical splendor. But day by day they are witnessing that way of life escape them. As June gives way to the hotter summer temperatures, law enforcement officials are concerned that things are only going to get worse. In the rankings with other metropolitans, Chicago is in the top five with other notables like New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore. In 2011 the national census clocked Chicago with 2.7 million people. Nearly half of those live below the poverty line. With jobs leaving the city, crime at its highest and difficulty finding a person to step up and testify, a solution does not seem likely.
By: Cherese Jackson