CHICAGO -- A Chicago man is back home after walking nearly 700 miles to Washington D.C. to raise awareness about violence and guns.
While the focus for the past few days has been on Las Vegas and the mass shooting there, in Chicago gun violence continues to make headlines. Demetrius Nash says he’s tired from his journey, but he`s more energized than ever before to begin his work.
“Every day I walked away from Chicago, someone was getting shot, someone getting killed,” Nash says.
In fact, during the month of September, when Nash set out on his journey, 57 people were killed and 273 wounded in shootings in Chicago.
Now that he’s back, Nash says he`s ready to get to work.
“Why not take all this bottled up energy and building back our community again with these young men who have guns in their hands and replace them with construction hammers?”
That was the goal of his 672 mile walk. Nash wants to bring attention to his organization “Replace Guns with Hammers. He started it to give young men who are committing the majority of gun violence on the streets of Chicago a constructive outlet by rehabbing homes while helping to restore their communities.
“It’s loving them where they’re at and then building them up to where we want them to be,” he says.
Nash says he saw a lot and met a lot of people during what he calls his walk for humanity.
“Poverty has no color and we are all in the same boat when you talk about poverty in America,” he says. “I didn`t care if the town was lily white, you had alcoholism, you had drug problems, you had violence .”
Along the way he got a resolution from the mayor of Cleveland, a proclamation from the state of Pennsylvania and held a press conference with civil rights icon, Congressman John Lewis. And even though his 30 day plan turned into a 53 day trek, partly because of a brief hospital stay for pancreatitis, Nash feels like he completed his mission. He cites a saying he read as a reason why.
“Make a plan so big that without God you would fail. I think I did because I know without God I would have failed.”
Nash raised a little over $28,000 during his walk. He still has a goal of $50,000. So that he can acquire the properties to be rehabbed. And he also wants to be able to provide a stipend of about 300 or 400 dollars to the young men who end up working for him.