Inside the house of hope the message was strong Saturday—even if the turnout was not.
Annette Holt, Blair Holt’s mother: “You have no idea what it’s like to lose your child.”
Aaron D. Wright Sr., a former gang member, now a motivational speaker, came to this first ever National Unity Summit on Chicago’s south side wanting to turn young minds away from gangs and violence and onto a new path, by listening.
“Because behind all that anger there’s some hurt if their momma don’t care and their daddy ain’t around what you think they gotta do? They gotta fend for themselves 21 that’s like a little guppy in a big old shark tank,” he said.
Dr. Gregory Tatum, who organized the summit, grew up in Cabrini Green and now lives in California. Chicago is the first stop for these first summits that’ll include Detroit, Los Angeles, Kansas City and Ohio– he’s not surprised this first time isn’t well attended.
“I think people have this wait and see mentality even the politicians and some clergy people. And some gang members. They want to see if this is the same old same old and i understand that,” he said.
Tio Hardiman, Ceasefire Violence Interrupters said “I think pastor tatum will go back to the drawing board and find a way to re-group and present this in another way in the future.”
But some were attended to listen.
Kim hunter-Bradley, Kordero Hunter’s mother: “The days of just kind of preaching to them and telling a child ‘don’t do that’ that no longer works.”
Kim Hunter-Bradley ‘s mission to train young men to stay out of trouble began in earnest when her son Kordero, a college student and athlete, was shot and killed two years ago, he was an innocent bystander.
“His dream was to work with young men. He felt that his life experiences and the discipline that he had as athlete would help him help them solve their problems growing up,” she said.
One of those she brought here with her MVP program is Ti-Shawn Clark, who says he’s turned his life around..
“I wanted to go to college, so i had to stop doing a lot of stuff. So a lot of people that i hanged out with i don’t hang out with anymore.”
It’s a small but important step some here say, to turn violence around.
Dr. Rev Gregory Tatum: “I think that’s what we have here. This will matriculate in the community. This message is being conveyed all over the world.”