CHICAGO — Street vendors, volunteers and community organizers gathered Saturday in Pilsen to offer a possible solution to crime.
“They don’t want to hear us, we’re going to make noise,” Ricky Medina, a Little Village resident said. “They don’t want to see us, we’re going to make ourselves be seen.”
Kristian Armendariz, a Little Village community organizer, said they are trying to step up and protect their community.
That was the message they delivered during a crime prevention press conference in Pilsen. It was held by Adl. Byron Sigcho-Lopez and numerous community groups who said they are fed up with the ongoing crime issues, specifically the violence towards street vendors.
“The issue of violence is systemic violence,” Sigcho-Lopez said. “Any politician that is saying we’re going to put more cops in the street is lying because we already have 1,000 police officers in the street right now and we have a testimony of a vendor who has been robbed seven times.”
Maria Aguilar said she lives with the constant fear of being robbed and attacked while simply trying to make a living.
Sigcho-Lopez said this ties into a bigger issue, one that would tax major corporations like Amazon.
“So that we have programming in public schools, so we have programming in park districts, so that we, as a community, can prevent the violence.”
Sigcho-Lopez will be presenting the Amazon Tax Bill on Wednesday to City Council.
This week, the Chicago Police Department said they would be increasing patrols in Little Village after the rise in reports of armed robberies targeting street vendors.
But those present at Saturday’s event said it’s not enough and are calling for the community to come together and volunteer time.
Organizers of Saturday’s event are organizing people who would like to volunteer their time.
The communities impacted, like those of Little Village and Pilsen, said they’ve also partnered with community organizations, like Brown Berets and Black Panthers, to provide protection.