Common lends his voice to Chatham rally ahead of 79th Street march

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CHICAGO — Artist and activist Common joined pastors and community members in Chatham on Saturday for a peace rally.

Common, who grew up in Chatham, was on hand to support those affected by violence and to speak about the Art in Motion Charter School set to open in September. Common hopes the school will help kids who may feel lost.

“We want them to see and discover whatever that passion and purpose is,” Common said. “This school will help develop that.”

Common partnered with the Rev. John Hannah from New Life Covenant Southeast, who has organized the annual prayer march for the last eight years.

Several hundred people started walking from 79th Street and Greenwood Avenue toward the Dan Ryan midday Saturday — shutting down 79th Street along the way. It’s considered one of the most violent streets in Chicago.

“This brings life to 79th Street,” marcher Chava Langston said.

Nannette Murray marched in memory of her son Raymond, who was murdered on her front porch in 2014.

“Less than half of an inch,” she said. “I mean, he was right at my door. Someone attempted to rob him, and they shot him and killed my baby.”

Raymond Murray had come home from college to take care of his mother because she was having epileptic seizures. Police still haven’t found his killer.

“Some days you laugh,” she said. “Some days you cry. But the pain never goes away.”

By marching Saturday, Nannette Murray said, she didn’t feel so alone.

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