CHICAGO — Police are investigating after an anti-violence activist was shot in the city’s Englewood neighborhood.
Jermaine Kelly, 25, was shot Tuesday morning around 6:15 a.m. on the 7400 block South Vincennes Avenue. The englewood resident, who is also a volunteer with Mothers Against Senseless Killings (MASK), was waiting to drive two of his friends to school when he heard gunshots and realized he had been shot in the hand and thigh.
Two months ago, Kelly was at a vigil for a fellow anti-violence volunteer who had been murdered. At the vigil, Kelly wore a T-shirt that read, "Who's next?" but he never thought it would be him.
“I couldn't walk right,” Kelly said about the moments after the shooting. “I had a good friend he saw where it came from helped me put pressure on it took me immediately to the hospital.”
Kelly said he’s thankful to be alive, and said he’s not giving up on bettering his life or fighting gun violence in his neighborhood.
Over the summer, two mothers — Chantelle Grant and Andrea Stoudemire — who volunteered for MASK were shot and killed in the same area.
A week later, Kelly's childhood friend and fellow volunteer Calvin Seay was murdered.
Despite the violence Kelly is pushing on.
“Don't give up don't give up hope,” he said. “You have to stay focused and stay committed to what you know and your better.”
Kelly is hoping to become an electrician and own his own business after he finishes trade school in a few months.
MASK is opening a new Peace Academy in Englewood, which will be a community and training center that will provide career opportunities to residents.