CHICAGO (CBS) — With so many people caught in gunfire in the past month, those left behind are looking for solutions.
CBS 2’s Jim Williams reports on what local grassroots organizations are doing to turn the tide.
Violence in Chicago seems insurmountable. But every day lots of grass roots organizations are working hard in the communities hardest hit.
In West Garfield Park, Milton Hibbler’s effort to prevent violence is a conversation, one-on-one, on the street. The message?
“Not to give up hope,” Hibbler said.
A simple request, but hope is hard to maintain here in this community which has had 94 shootings so far this year.
“They take what they see, and they define that as where they’re going to be the rest of their lives,” Hibbler said.
Hibbler, of the group Field of Dreams Visionary Center, offers an example of the possibilities: his own life.
“Not long ago, I used to be them. Seeing how I made it out, I’m going to tell them they can make it out as well. Where they’re at isn’t their final destination,” he said.
The Reverend Walter Jones of Fathers Who Care and the West Side community stakeholders does what he calls “pop-ups.” He’s visiting blocks where violence has or is likely to erupt in violence.
“So we’re really touching individuals face-to-face,” Jones said. “This violence didn’t just start yesterday and it’s not going to end tomorrow.”
He is struck by the level of despair he sees, made worse by COVID-19, which has hit this community particularly hard.
“For the most part the people on the street are suffering from various different form of anxiety, trauma, post traumatic stress,” Jones said. “They’re crying out asking for help and what we need is to provide help.”
Help that men and women on the ground are trying to provide, by connecting young people to services, education and job training.
You could call it hope.
“We’re not the police and we’re not trying to be the police. We’re just trying to let them know that someone cares about you and we want to save to save our children,” Jones said.
On Thursday, the Reverend Jones will hold a “pop up” event at noon on the corner of Jackson and Pulaski. He’ll offer resources including food and COVID-19 testing.