CHICAGO — Dozens took to their bicycles on Chicago’s West Side Saturday afternoon for a ride toward ending violence and promoting a positive message for the community.
“It’s about getting out the negativity and bringing in the positivity,” 24th Ward Ald. Michael Scott said.
Police joined the crowd biking for the cause on Saturday, taking a six-mile trek through some of the more dangerous streets of North Lawndale and Little Village to bring a positive message.
“It’s like I’m righting all the wrongs,” ‘Boxing Out Negativity’ founder Derek Brown said.
Brown grew up on Chicago’s streets and is a former gang member. He started the non-profit ‘Boxing Out Negativity’ as a way to be a changed person for the young Chicagoans he sees today.
“I want the lost children here, we can’t write them off because I’m here. And I was one of the worst. But when you know better, you do better. But you do a whole lot better with resources,” Brown said.
Resources are the key to battling negativity and violence that is a reality for many, Brown said. He began with boxing and has now branched out to biking.
“To engage a cycle, to counter the cycle of violence with this cycling project that’s really not just about today, but continuing to raise up community,” Larry Dowling, a pastor of St. Agatha Church said.
Brown’s message for young minds to hear and see is to use their energy on the streets in a positive way, he said.
“Just like in the ring, they go to the wall in the streets. Make sure the decisions are the right decisions,” Brown said.