CHICAGO—Chicago’s gun violence has produced 350 victims at Final Call press time, for the year 2023, with 30 Black females ranging in age from a one-year-old to a 69-year-old, dying from their injuries.
Englewood community organizers joined together in solidarity on August 2 to hold a news conference addressing the increase in gun violence, throughout the city, and specifically expressing concerns on the rise of young Black females being gunned down.
On July 30, eight women were shot in the North Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago, while attending a birthday party. One victim, a 21-year-old woman who was a mother of a three-year-old son and a two-year-old daughter, was transported to a hospital where she died from a gunshot to the face.
Approximately 200 teenagers gathered at a park in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago on the night of July 31. Suddenly shots were fired, and two girls, 15 and 16, were injured. The 16-year-old was shot in the back and was transported to a hospital where she died later that night.
The 15-year-old suffered a graze wound to her left arm and was in good condition.
At the August 2 news conference, Marci Richards, executive director of Fierce Women of Faith, stated, “This is a terrible day when we have reduced ourselves to killing our women and our children. This is our lineage; this is our legacy; we are in a cycle of violence that needs to stop.
We are in pain; we need resources, and we need unity to come together to address the issues. The healing can start when we come together as mothers, as a community.”
Tara Richards is also a member of Fierce Women of Faith, a nonprofit organization that works to address issues of violence plaguing communities in Chicago. They have held peace walks, youth community engagement outreach programs, rallies, and other community events.
“Our children are scared to come outside. As a parent when I’m coming down the street and I see cops and blood everywhere, I am concerned for my babies. When the gun violence touches one soul, it touches the entire community.
We cannot continue to stand by and allow this to continue to happen. We have to come together as a community with the police to effect change, or we’re going to die out,” stated Ms. Richards.
Pastor Dionell Hill of New Life Resurrection Ministry, stated, “To see the paramedics leave used gloves and blood stains on the sidewalk is detrimental and traumatizing. That’s a sign of carelessness, it’s sad. I’m a pastor but I’m a human being first, there’s much that has to happen when it comes to hands-on.
We have to do away with the no snitching mentality; it’s either contact the police or men in the community that are licensed to carry guns, should be allowed to exact justice on the criminals.”
Pastor Hill continued, “We should not have to wait for the police. I declare that our men stand up!”
Charles Odum stated that he had sent a citywide proposal to the office of Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson with recommendations on implementing community service aid programs throughout the city. “This program will create liaisons from each community or district and basically be the voice of the residents. Building a positive and working relationship with the police is very beneficial, and it can definitely deter violence,” said Mr. Odum, founder of The Union to End Slums.
—Shawntell Muhammad, Contributing Writer