‘We Report Violence:’ Father Michael Pfleger Spearheads Drive to Curb Chicago Shootings

on May22
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2019-05-22 20:21:10

While Chicago police are working to enact their plans to help prevent summertime violence in the city, Father Michael Pfleger and his church have a plan of their own.

Father Pfleger, who has long been an outspoken advocate against violence in the city, is calling on the community around St. Sabina Church on the South Side to come together in a new initiative to help send the message that gun violence won’t be tolerated.

That plan involves giving out signs to residents with a simple message: “We report violence.” According to the Chicago Sun-Times, 5,000 of the signs have already been made, and 10,000 more are set to be distributed in the community. Parishioners helped Pfleger hand out the signs in a door-to-door operation on Wednesday.

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“It’s a great idea,” Auburn-Gresham resident Brenda Brown said. “If it stops the violence and stops the killing (it’s great). We need more people out here to support Father Mike. He’s done a wonderful job over here and they need to keep this up.”

Pfleger calls the signs a way for the neighborhood around his parish to join together to prevent the type of gun violence that has plagued Chicago in recent summers.

“When one speaks up, you’re right, that person becomes a target,” he said. “But when ten people on that block speak up, there is no target.”

Tonya Burch, whose son Donte Smith was killed nearly 10 years ago while leaving a block party, was among those who spoke out about the new program, encouraging residents to participate in the program to prevent more tragedies like the one that befell her son.

“I think it’s a start. I think if the community gets more involved the killing will stop,” she said.

The signs are two-sided, according to Pfleger. One side features a message that says “we report violence,” and the other features phone numbers and resources necessary for those who want to report what they’ve witnessed.

Pfleger says that he wants to see the signs in all Chicago neighborhoods, and that he wants to send a clear message to children and residents that someone cares about the risks that they face in their neighborhoods.

“We want our children to know they are safe this summer,” he said. “Walking on the block we want them to see this in every window and in every door, so they can feel safe and so they can know there are adults who will protect us and watch out for us.”

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