Tag Archives: anti-violence

St. Sabina Community March & Rally

Saint Sabina Community March and Rally

Last year I had the opportunity to participate in this end-of-the-school-year community march & rally.  It was a moving and empowering experience.  I hope that someday soon we have no need for these sort of events but, until that day, lets get out in the streets and pray and act for peace.

The kick-off starts at Saint Sabina Church at 7pm.  Friday, June 17th, 2011.

Let’s increase the peace Chicago!


Empowering Students to Confront Violence

In the aftermath of the shooting of a peer, young people in Evanston, IL came to Sharon Weeks and asked,

“What are we supposed to do?
Who is going to speak for us?”

Evanston IL anti-violence march and rally

When Sharon Weeks signed up for the 2011 Congress on Urban Ministry as a part of SCUPE’s class for seminary students she didn’t know what she was getting herself into.  Come Thursday morning she would be one of the 300 Congress attendees at an anti-violence rally in front of the Illinois state building.

Sharon describes the rally as transformative:

“I was so excited I didn’t know what to do with myself… It was already something that I stood for and believe, in and to see so many other people feeling that same way… I was exhilarated!”

Anti-violence march and rally in Evanston ILA couple days later, when students from Evanston Township High School came to Sharon, she told them of her experience of public witnessing against violence at the Congress and they jumped on the idea.

Within minutes the students were busy creating signs and t-shirts, calling and texting friends, and planning for the march.  For Sharon it was clear that the students saw the march as “a way they could get the community to pitch in and understand that they don’t want to be target”

The march proved to be a great success in gathering the community around youth violence. In a few short days, students had mobilized a large cadre of support.  Along with strong participation from students and community members also in attendance were:  the Mayor of Evanston, the Evanston School District Superintendent, teachers, business owners, police officers, several aldermen, and the President and Dean of Students of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.

The group plans to continue the work of strategically confronting, addressing, and educating the community on youth violence by organizing forums, workshops, classes for parents, and by including students at area Middle Schools and Alternative Schools in the anti-violence efforts.

Evanston IL students and communty march for peaceSharon Weeks is the sponsor for two of the youth groups that sponsored the march: the Evanston Township High School chapter of the NAACP and the Youth Works Committee for the city of Evanston.

When young people came to her looking for their voice Sharon Weeks told them, “Speak for yourself and tell people how you’re feeling” – and then she gave them the tools to do just that.

For Sharon Weeks, being a part of empowering young people is part of being open in faith to God’s moving. When asked about her role, Sharon simply replies: “God, this is you.”

Should I attend the Congress if I’m not into Urban Ministry?

Susan Rans MASJCD

Susan Rans, director of the Master of Arts in Social Justice and Community Development program, encourages those who are interested in creating peace in neighborhoods, cities, and between nations (but perhaps not interested in urban ministry) to participate in the Congress and to be a part of the myriad of groups working for peace from diverse contexts and perspectives.

As apart of this continuing work towards peace, SCUPE is pleased to present the finalized workshop offerings for the 2011 Congress on Urban Ministry.

I Care for Peace 5k Walk

What are you walking for on October 2nd?

Why not join the I Care Movement and walk for Peace?

I Care for Peace 5k Walk

The “Do You Care?” campaign was started by 5 interns who worked for the Safety Net Works of Auburn Gresham Youth Council.

The purpose of the “I Care For Peace 5k Walk” is to bring people from all across the city of Chicago together in an effort to raise money to help reduce the high levels of violence in our city.   All of the proceeds from this walk will go towards violence prevention programming for youth.  Specifically, a portion of the proceeds from this walk will go towards creating a Southside Youth Resource Center that is open 24 hours a day for at risk youth.  This resource center will serve youth throughout the city of Chicago, providing them with immediate counseling, gang prevention and intervention services, and other necessary resources.

Did You Know?

  • From January to November 2009, 344 people were murdered in Chicago with guns, which accounted for 82% of the total homicides for the city.
  • From January to November 2009, 213 children and young people ages 0-25 were murdered in Chicago, the majority by guns.
  • Over 210 CPS students, were shot during the 2009 to 2010 academic school year.

Register for the 5k walk.

Join the I Care Movement.

Become a Peacemaker.

Silence The Violence Rally

Last Friday a beautiful summer afternoon was suddenly transformed into a brutal Chicago summer storm just hours before a crucial anti-violence rally and march led by Mayor Richard M. Daley and Father Michael Pfleger.  By the rally’s start time the skies were back to their clear, calm, early-summer brilliance but the violent storm served as a reminder of the violence that erupts in Chicago and cities around this nation.

While the event was, predictably, under-covered by the local media (video here and briefly here) there was quite a list of mentionable civic and community leaders present for the empowering rally and march.  Joining the hundreds of concerned citizens in attendance were U.S. Senator Roland W. Burris, IL Senator Jackie Collins, Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis, CPS CEO Ron Huberman and many others.

The crowd read together a list of Community Take Back Demands as prepared by Father Pfleger that were concrete, detailed, and focused on addressing the violence in our communities with the assets of our communities.  Here is the list:

  • Whereas, we acknowledge that our community has been unlawfully seized from us while we were silent, and that we have not only the right, but the duty to take it back;
  • Whereas, we desire to improve the quality of life of those living in our community and acknowledge that all people deserve to live in a safe, loving and nurturing environment;
  • Whereas, violence and abuse in all forms are serious social problems that can be prevented and that everyone must work to end.
  • Whereas, as adults we are responsible for providing safety for our children and are called to secure for them their future.
  • Whereas, the strength of any community is found in its citizens living and working together in a spirit of cooperation across lines of class, culture, color and creed to develop, rebuild and sustain that community; and by working together, all are enriched.
  • Whereas, preventing violence and abuse begins with each one of us as individual stakeholders in our community;

We make the following demands of each citizen of our community.

  • We demand that every business that benefits from our patronage, whether uptown, downtown, or here in the community, whether small or large, employ at least one youth part-time or full time this summer.
  • We demand that park districts establish attractive quality programming for our youth.
  • We demand that every church, mosque or synagogue open its doors for youth, and develop and maintain quality youth programs to draw our young people off the streets. And call them to meet outside before Bible Study and choir rehearsal to create a presence in the community.
  • We demand that each citizen commit his/her support to community organizations and faith-based organizations worldng to end all forms of violence.
  • We demand that the residents of each block maintain the cleanliness and order of their property and turn on their porch lights at night.
  • We demand that each resident take charge of the safety of that block watch and patrol that block, hold outdoor block club meetings and activities for the residents and youth on that block.
  • We demand that CAPS hold their meetings outdoors during the summer.
  • We demand that every parent provides for and ensures the supervision of their children and enter into partnerships with the schools that their children attend.
  • We demand that all schools continue to make adequate yearly progress on strengthening the curriculum and teaching conflict resolution so that our youth become aware of their relationship to each discipline, are able to compete on the world stage and can see themselves and others depicted accurately in history.
  • We demand that the violence plaguing our cities be seen as a National Emergency and that Federal financial resources be given to cities for jobs for adults and youth, youth alternatives and strategies to stop the violence.
  • We demand that elected officials in Springfield and Washington ban assault weapons and stop the easy access to guns by titling guns like cars.
  • We demand that each citizen work collaboratively with the schools in their community to expand programming and improve their capacity to serve the needs of our youth and prepare them to give service to themselves, their families, their communities and society.
  • We demand that every parent, teacher, mentor, neighbor and street organization member challenge our fellow community members to recognize that they can be powerful without making others powerless.
  • We demand that each member of our community commit to treating one another with dignity and respect.
  • We demand that each citizen take a stand and never commit, condone, accept or remain silent about violence.
  • We demand that each citizen does that which is necessary and within his/her realm of influence and power to foster a community which is respectful, safe, and fair for all people.

For a detailed account of the rally with quotes from the various speakers, read this article by Chinta Strausberg.

Mayor Richard M. Daley