Violence in Chicago
The truth of the matter is that Chicago is in a crisis and has been for some time now. There are some great people and great organizations who are trying to end the violence in Chicago, but it hasn’t been enough. More actions need to be taken by the higher authority in order to make this beautiful city a safe one. Just between 2011 and 2012, crime rates in Chicago rose a staggering 38 percent (The New York Times). It is apparent that not enough action is being taken to protect the lives of civilians roaming our beautiful city. As we waited on the corner for our bus, my head started rumbling with thoughts: thoughts of anger, thoughts of sorrow, and thoughts of hope. After leaving Precious Blood, I was in utter disbelief for what I had just heard has never occurred to me living in my little safe suburb of Chicago. I reluctantly woke up at 7am that morning and commuted to DePaul University for my Discover Chicago class. This class focuses on visiting communities and people who are attempting to eradicate the reputation of violence in Chicago and ultimately save lives. Today’s agenda had us visiting the Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation in a dangerous South Side Chicago neighborhood called Back of the Yards. This neighborhood borders Englewood Chicago which is infamous for its crime rates
We first spoke to Father David Kelly, who runs the Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation. Father Kelly dedicates his life to his cause; which is to turn around the lives of those who lack opportunities for success and settle for violence. He works with many gang members who are trying to turn their lives around. Father Kelly has had much success with his cause. At the ministry he provides a safe haven for people to get off the dangerous streets and maybe acquire some tutoring, or participate in extracurricular activities. It really moved me hearing him speak and seeing how he dedicates his life to bettering human society.
Father Kelly introduced us to a former employee of the ministry, Jonathan. Jonathan is a former gang member who served time in jail and was able to turn his life around with the help of Precious Blood. The 22 year old looked to Father Kelly for guidance after he served his time and realized he was capable of better in life. Father Kelly put him on the right track by first having him work at the ministry then eventually as an influential speaker. Jonathan is now seen as a great example for those gang members trying to better their lives. We got the opportunity to hear some really eye-opening stories from Jonathan. To put into perspective just how violent Back of the Yards is, Jonathan stated that he’s lost 8 of his friends within the past two summers due to gang violence. Hearing that number made my heart drop; eight young men in this community passed away within the past 2 summers due to gang violence. I couldn’t help but think that if these young men were raised in a better community with more opportunities they’d still be alive today. No one deserves to die at such a young age. Jonathan went on to talk about the role of policemen in the community, or the lack thereof. He told one story where he was walking away from a murder scene after work when two officers in a patrol car pulled up next to him. At first he feared that they would suspect he was part of the crime and arrest him, but then he could only look at the officers with disgust. They started applauding him, thinking he shot the man who had just been murdered. They applauded him and stated, “Good job! Ya’ll aim is getting better. Keep it up.” By aim, the officer was referring to the bullet in the back of the victims head. This is completely unacceptable. For those words to come out of the mouth of someone who’s supposed to be serving justice and protecting the people, it’s absurd. I was at a loss of words after hearing this; dumbfounded and furious. The scary thing is that if these two...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document