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In the streets of Auburn Gresham, there was a message of peace from community members determined to walk the walk.
“Parents and guardians must take authority over our homes and our blocks and make sure that we know where our children are and who are children are with,” said Father Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina Church.
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The event began on the steps of St. Sabina with song and spirit and a grinding determination that change begins now.
“Dear God, when will we preach, Black folks, that we must stop turning the guns on each other? When will that happen?” said Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
Tre Bosley with Brave Youth Leaders of St. Sabina also spoke.
“Economic investment and development are nothing more than words we hear around election time from candidates who know damn well they’re not trying to help us like we see from our city officials this month,” Bosley said.
Among the speakers was the Bulls’ Ayo Dosunmu, a Chicago native who lost a best friend to gun violence.
“I know I’m sick and tired of this feeling and this sadness. I’m sure you are, too. We have to continue to do the work. We have to continue to stay together and get better as a community,” Dosunmu said.
This event was the first of several summer Friday peace walks. It came as homicides year to date are down 10% from the same period last year. Shootings are down 18%.
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But the city remains awash in guns. The number of assault-style weapons recovered by the Chicago Police Department is more than 80% from last year.
“We must pass gun legislation in this city and in this country,” Pfleger said.
A gun buyback hosted by St. Sabina last weekend yielded more than 400 weapons. Pfleger said similar events are planned for the coming weeks.