South Side activist paying young residents for community projects on Fourth of July weekend

Chicago News

CHICAGO – A South Side activist is implementing an innovating idea to help curb holiday violence; pay young people for community service projects instead of potentially getting caught up in violence.

On Thursday afternoon in Jeffrey Manor on the Far South Side, activist Jedidiah Brown went up-and-down the streets looking for help.

“We’ve decided to come into the neighborhood,” Brown said. “The best way to address peace is relationship and opportunity.”

He knocked on doors with a special offer; he will pay young people to do community projects this weekend with the help of two grants.

“We want this neighborhood to be peaceful, and we want to start the relationship building process so we can always get ahead, and curb the numbers and make sure it doesn’t hit our side of town,” Brown said.

He’s looking to hire 50 to 100 people to work as “peace agents” for the entire weekend.

The grants, totaling $9,500, come from My Block, My Hood, My City and from Brown’s Justice Family organization.

“We’re going to pay them to do community service projects for the neighborhood. And basically I’m telling the residents,. When these young people come tomorrow, they’re coming to help you with whatever you need help with,” Brown said.

The projects range from picking up litter to helping seniors with grocery deliveries.

17-year-old high school senior Djah Dixon signed up to be a peace agent after Brown knocked on her door.

“I like to spread peace and for everybody to feel as one,” she said.

Brown said his approach is all about making personal connections and giving young people an incentive for taking care of their neighborhoods.

“It’s just a very small drop in the bucket to what’s happening throughout the city, and I’m very optimistic about us doing our part,” Brown said.

This is all part of the operation “hit the hood” this weekend. My Block, My Hood, My City awarded $50,000 in peace grants to organizations working to prevent violence this weekend.

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