“Peace protest in Rogers Park: Alderman, community groups participate in mile-long march to end area-violence”

Posted on: September 6th, 2012
Chicago’s 24th police district — which includes Rogers Park — has had 709 cases of violent crime in the past year and nine murders in 2012, according to the Chicago Police Department.

In order to raise awareness of the city’s growing violence, community anti-violence groups held a peace march on Thursday, Aug. 30 in Rogers Park.

Organizers from groups such as Organization of the NorthEast, A Work of Faith Ministries Inc. and Ceasefire were involved in putting the march together, which approximately 350 people attended, according to Rev. Kenneth Wesbrooks, the CEO and founder of a Work of Faith Ministries Inc.

Wesbrooks, whose organization is devoted to helping parents find resources and information about proper parenting, was one of the lead organizers of the march, which he said was needed to voice concerns over violence in the area.
“I think Rogers Park seems to have a very apathetic view toward violence,” Wesbrooks said.

Despite the community’s apparent lack of concern for violence, Wesbrooks was impressed with the turnout, especially because the march was mostly organized in less than two weeks.
“I think it was extremely well organized and put together,” Wesbrooks said. “For Rogers Park, I think it was very well attended.”
Marchers met on the corner of West Farwell Avenue and North Ashland Avenue at 6 p.m., many wearing colorful shirts advertising anti-violence or community outreach groups. After a few speeches, they made their way to North Clark Avenue and –headed north to Gale School Park on West Howard Street for a cookout with drum circles and more speeches.
Marchers carried signs demanding an end to violence and many wore black signs on their shirts that said “…1475+ More Than We Can Bear” referring to the amount of people wounded in Chicago since the beginning of the year, or “…356 Stop. Killing. People.” referring to the number of people killed in Chicago this year.
49th Ward Alderman Joe Moore spoke to the crowd, saying ending violence was the responsibility of everyone in the community.
Moore said the march was “evidence of a community that cares.” He was impressed by the diversity of participants and the amount of young people, he said.
Although he attended the march, Moore doesn’t believe crime in his ward is terrible in comparison to citywide trends.
“We had a spate of violence due to some gang activity in the spring, but it’s been quiet this year,” Moore said. “It’s [the 49th ward] certainly in better condition than the South and West sides.”
Ellen Glover, 23, a Loyola alum who graduated in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and social work, attended the march. She said she saw about 10 people from the Loyola community at the march and believes not all students are encouraged enough to get involved in community organizations.
“I think it can be a varied experience,” Glover said. “The student has to push for it [community involvement] but once they do they can get a valued experience.”
Glover said students in the sociology or social work department are required to take internships and that this is a good way to get them started in community outreach. She also said certain professors do a great job in getting students excited about reaching out.
“Some professors really try to get students involved,” Glover said. “I think that perspective is really prevalent in the sociology department.”
One thing Glover noticed about some students while attending Loyola was their fear of the area surrounding campus.
“I think it’s a pretty common mentality,” Glover said. “It’s important to reach out to different neighborhoods and explore different neighborhoods. Just as long as you’re smart you will be fine.”
by Tyler Langan
Original article can be found at http://www.loyolaphoenix.com/peace-protest-in-rogers-park-alderman-community-groups-participate-in-mile-long-march-to-end-area-violence.

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