- Chicago Sun Times | Saturday, April 19, 2014: In Pre-Easter March, Chicago Religious, Community Activists Call For Peace
- WLS-TV Chicago (ABC 7 Eyewitness News) | Saturday, April 19, 2014: Anti-violence Easter March Held In South Chicago
- DNAinfo Chicago | Friday, April 18, 2014: Anti-violence March And Prayer Service Set For Saturday In South Chicago
Service Resurrects Hope For Restoring Peace & Stopping Violence
CHICAGO – In light of the 36 shootings that made last weekend the bloodiest weekend of 2014, South Chicago ministers led an anti-violence Easter procession followed by an ecumenical service today on Holy Saturday. In reverence to the celebration of the Resurrection, the march and service called on South Chicago neighbors to renew the hope for peace and a stop to the violence destabilizing and threatening the safety of communities.
“As spring has approached, communities that have been diligently working to stop violence have been shocked by the number of shooting incidents over the past several weeks. Given the continued and escalating incidents of violence, Chicago communities need a renewed sense of hope and the Ecumenical Service provides an opportunity to unite around the theme of The Resurrection of Peace, Power and Purpose,” said Apostle Steve Jones, pastor of Praise Tabernacle Deliverance Center and founding member of the South Chicago Peoples and Pastors Association.
The service is the 15th Annual Ecumenical Service in South Chicago and presented by South Chicago Peoples and Pastors Association and Claretian Associates in partnership with Ceasefire Illinois, The City of Chicago and The Airree Project.
CeaseFire South Shore/South Chicago and local ministers led the reverent anti-violence procession to South Chicago Peoples’ Park where participants assembled to continue the service. Ecumenical Service ministry participants included New Prospect Missionary Baptist Church, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Pilgrim Baptist Church, Power Circle Center and Praise Tabernacle Deliverance Center.
In addition to community members and leaders, faith-based leaders, and representatives of South Side community and advocacy organizations, the service was attended by City of Chicago Alderman John Pope, 10th Ward, and Cook County Commissioner Stanley Moore.
FAITH-BASED LEADERS CALLED TO STEER COMMUNITY ANTI-VIOLENCE EFFORTS
Despite the first quarter postings of the lowest homicide totals since 1958, the number of shootings in Chicago has been steadily rising for the last four weeks. By Sunday, April 13, 2014 that number had peaked at a record 36 shooting incidents in less than 36 hours.
With public sector resources engulfed by responding to the violence plaguing Chicago communities, and particularly the troubled South Side areas, faith-based leaders are not only underscoring the need to support the indispensable efforts taking place, but also the need to engage and draw on the resources of all neighborhood citizens to overcome the challenges that threaten the safety and vitality of communities.
“In order to change what is going on in our communities it is going to takes the direct involvement and investment of all of us – each and every one. The South Side faith-based leaders have come together to lead the way, to assemble and guide our neighborhoods in this crusade to stop the violence,” said Apostle Jones.
MEMORIAL TO VICTIMS CONCLUDES ANTI-VIOLENCE SERVICE
As the Ecumenical Service came to a close, a memorial was made in reverence to those who have fallen to violence, providing a somber reminder of the impact on both individual lives and the stability of communities.
A heartfelt memorial was made at this year’s service to Bearling Robinson Jr. who had worked with the CeaseFire South Shore/South Chicago team and was killed just a few months following last year’s Ecumenical Service in which he was a guest speaker. Robinson was shot and killed while attempting to mediate an argument.
“Bearling was a young man who was killed trying to do exactly what he was being taught… trying to stop the violence,” said Clarence Ray, CeaseFire worker.
For more information about Claretian Associates and its community development programs please visit www.claretianassociates.org.