|Fr. Michael Pfleger|
Pfleger says no one shot or wounded last night is proof ‘We can do this’
Fed more than 500 at city-sponsored peace rally
By Chinta Strausberg
Police officials confirmed Saturday that no one died or wounded last night—an unusual state in this violence riddled city but good news to Father Michael L. Pfleger who said, “God is just waiting for us to be the inhabitants of the earth he called us to be and last night should tell us one very important truth…we can do this.”
The nearly 200 citywide “Summer of Faith” peace rallies took place last night and just a few weeks after Mayor Rahm Emanuel and radio personalities signed unto a “Put The Guns Down” anti-violence prevention campaign. Many of those attending the rally held at Saint Sabina’s Renaissance Park held signs bearing that message.
“I thought the night was a wonderful showing of what community is all about and should be every day….people from blocks all around, children playing games and dancing, adults laughing and dancing, teens playing basketball and everybody eating,” said Pfleger. “We fed over 500 people. It was a vision of what we all want and can have if we come together.”
Joining Pfleger were Amy Emanuel, the wife of Mayor Rahm Emanuel who was accompanied by Cyndy Lyons and Dr. Anita Blanchard, associate professor at the University of Chicago, Police Supt. Garry McCarthy, Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-16th), WGCI’s Tony Sculfield, DJ Farley “Jackmaster” Funk, and many others.
While Mrs. Emanuel briefly spoke to the crowd, McCarthy gave a clear blueprint of how to eliminate the violence that continues to grip Chicago neighborhoods. “Violence is not a police department problem. It’s a community problem. It’s kind of true, but it’s everybody’s problem and we are all part of the community. We all live in the city of Chicago,” McCarthy said.
Quoting the mayor who often says, “A murder or shooting in the city of Chicago affects everybody in Chicago” none of this not in my backyard, none of this that says it’s on the South Side, who cares, or if it’s on the West Side, who cares. If it’s in the city of Chicago, it affects everybody,” McCarthy said.
“This is a police problem. It is a community problem, and it’s a legislation problem and we need some leadership to step up and give us a hand, but it’s not going to happen because of anything we’re doing. It’s going to happen because of something we are all doing.”
Senator Collins said, “This is the best effort made by a community to come together on behalf of promoting peace….Anything that we can do and show that we care to one another, respect another, counts” and that includes coming out to have fun.…
Sculfield, who grew up at 79thand Aberdeen, asked the crowd to chant “peace” and to “lay the guns down.” “We had a long, tortuous winter and we want our babies, our kids and our families to be able to come out and enjoy the summer weather. We want to sit on the porch. We want to go to the park. We want to play in the back yard. We want to bring the grill out. We want to enjoy ourselves….” “Put the guns down, now.”
“We are going to be doing this once a month…. We need real men in the communities, real citizens…. We’re going to take this city back….Put the guns down. Peace,” bellowed Sculfield. Funk echoed Sculfield’s message also chanting, “Put the guns down.”
Father Pfleger announced that Chris Baker, who owns a tattoo shop in Oswego, Illinois, will remove any gang tattoos for free on Friday, June 13th during Saint Sabina’s 7 p.m. end of the school year march to proclaim peace in the streets rally. When asked why does he provide this free service, Baker said, “God gave me the ability to tattoo letters which I love and this is my way of giving back some love and right now Chicago needs some love.”