CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–October 3, 2012. At 4pm on Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012, local residents and business owners in the Park Manor will be rallying to demand an end to violence in their South Side neighborhood. Sparked by a spate of shootings and a high-profile murder of a young man wielding an semi-automatic assault rifle, this emergency march will take participants through some of the roughest streets in Chicago, calling on their neighbors to break with the fear that has kept many children and seniors from coming outside after sundown. To highlight the need for neighbors to call for an end to these shootings, participants will be carrying caskets that signify to what residents say are the killings that continue to occur if residents do not stand up and demand a change.
“I finally had to say ‘enough is enough’,” explained the 71-year old business owner William Delay. “If we don’t get out here to do something, nothing is going to change. We need to protect these babies.”
Inspired by an R&B song called “P.L.E.A.S.E. (Peace Love Assist Support Everyone) by local Chicago singer Jay Adams, Delay called for this afternoon’s rally to address the violence that has wracked his neighborhood. Supported by other local residents, Delay has been going door-to-door to call for a change in his neighbor’s attitudes towards the shootings as well as the some of the police department’s policies regarding gun crimes. In particular, the rally’s organizers hope to show that if residents can walk the streets and call for change, police officers can get out of their cars and patrol the neighborhood on foot.
“We need to start getting to the root cause of all this violence – poverty,” offered local organizer Willie “J.R.” Fleming. “We need to start asking why there’s teenagers out here with machine guns like they’re child soldiers, when they’re homeless with no job, no education. How can you have a gun, but no place to sleep at night?”
The Park Manor neighborhood is one of the latest in which Chicago police officers have received assistance from federal agents from the F.B.I. and A.T.F. in an effort to combat violent crime. While supporting the increased attention to the needs of their neighborhood, law-abiding residents have also complained of being ‘stopped and frisked’ by federal agents who have only a passing knowledge of local crime problems. As part of their anti-violence message, residents will be calling for a return to foot patrols and community policing, as well as a diversion of their tax dollars towards addressing unemployment, homeless, and job readiness training for local residents.
Who: Business owners, residents, organizing for peace in Park Manor neighborhood
When: Wednesday, October 3rd, 4pm
Where: Mr. D’s Towing & Auto Services, 300 E. 69th St Chicago, IL 60637