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Summer-like weather was greatly appreciated in Chicago this weekend — starting with 86 degrees on Friday, May 21, 2021, Saturday was 87, and Sunday’s high was 80. Gov. J.B. Pritzker has cleared the city to allow vaccinated people to drop their masks, except where prohibited by law.
Many events took place over the weekend, including shootings, which seem to be ever-present in Chicago. Channel 7 News reported 23 people shot and 5 killed across the city, elevating shootings 36 percent higher than last year.
Fifteen-year-old Dajon Gater was shot and killed Friday night just before midnight in the 3900 block of West Lexington Street in the Lawndale neighborhood on the West Side. Gator was sitting on the front porch when two men began shooting, according to Chicago police and the medical examiner’s office. He was pronounced dead at Mount Sinai Hospital with a gunshot wound to the head. Detectives are still investigating the crime.
Saturday afternoon brought an event opposite yet wholly related to shootings in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood. Police gathered alongside residents for Biking Out Negativity, a six-mile bike ride through neighborhoods riddled with violence.
Just as they did last summer with ‘Street Love Ride: Rolling Deep for Peace,’ participants rode bikes promoting the message of eliminating violence and promoting positivity in the community. Alderman Michael Scott, Jr. of the 24th Ward called the event’s objective getting out the negative and bringing in the positive.
Derek Brown, the founder of Boxing Out Negativity, says, “It’s like I’m righting all the wrongs.” Brown, a former gang member, started the non-profit organization Boxing Out Negativity to be an example for young people that a person can change.
I want the lost children here, we can’t write them off because I’m here. And I was one of the worst. But when you know better, you do better. But you do a whole lot better with resources.
In the last week, 108 of the shooting victims in Chicago were children — 16 died.
Community leaders like Rev. Ira Acree of Greater St. John Bible Church, on the West Side, worry about what will become of the children with summer right around the corner. Acree says they will be offering a summer program but are limited by the pandemic on how many kids they can have.
Brown says negativity and crime are realities for many youths and would like to use their energy positively. Like how they go “all the way” in boxing, he wants to see them use the same energy in the streets, making sure they make the right decisions.
His programming is limited because of the size of the gym and covid restrictions, which affects how many at-risk youths they can help. During the summer, and since some COVID restrictions have lifted, Brown will once again offer the community outdoor training runs, bike rides, etc.
Brown asks that everyone join him for their last summer riding event Street Love Ride 2021, on August 21 from 8:00-10:00 pm. CDT — either as a partner or a volunteer.
Written by Brenda Robinson
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
ACCU Weather: Chicago, IL Monthly Weather
Chicago Tribune: Following CDC Guidelines, Gov. J.B. Pritzker Says Those Who Are Fully Vaccinated Can Drop Masks In Most Situations, But Chicago Maintaining Status Quo For Now; by Dan Petrella, Jenny Whidden, and Gregory Pratt
WGN-TV: Dozens Bike Through West Side To Spread Positive Messages Of Peace; by Sean Lewis
Sun-Times Media Wire: Chicago Shootings: 23 People Shot, 5 Killed In Weekend Violence Across City
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Charles Edward Miller’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License