Community leaders host anti-violence rallies, marches to help combat gun violence

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CHICAGO — Community leaders along with residents in the South Side gathered together for anti-violence rallies and marches to help combat the city's gun violence as summer gets underway.

A “Feed the Block” event was held at 57t Street and Racine Avenue on Friday. It was just one of several anti-violence events that happened around the city.

The Rev. Dwayne Grant of Xperience Church Chicago said people in the community have come to know him by the Jesus hat he always wears. He said community leaders have been holding space at 57th Street and Racine Avenue near Morgan Park since two young men were fatally shot there several years ago. On Friday, volunteers fired up the grill and cooked up hot dogs and hamburgers to help feed the block. Everything was donated.

Grant said there were many groups working hard to make a difference and he said they have to continue to work together to saturate communities in need with love.

“Something’s wrong and so we must come together and saturate bring love. Love on the people, love on the factions, the gang factions,” he said.

Carla Smith, a volunteer, said her son was shot six times and is now paralyzed. She said she stands with the pastor and said people should be helping everybody.

The Rev. Michael Pfleger held a rally and march at St. Sabina Church as he has done in previous years.

Pfleger was joined by Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx and Parkland school shooting survivor David Hogg. All of them came together to take a stand against the devastating gun violence that continues to plague the city especially during the summer months.

“We gotta rise up, we gotta stand up, and we gotta speak up,” Pfleger said during the rally.

Mothers of gun violence victims read the names of young people who have been killed in Chicago since last June.

After the rally, demonstrators hit the streets for a march through the Gresham neighborhood demanding justice.

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