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Far South Side resident Tonya Green is leery about stepping outside of her front door these days.

Far South Side resident Tonya Green is leery about stepping outside of her front door these days.

That intense fear reached its peak last October when her then-17-year-old nephew, Trevor Green, was slain just a few blocks away from her Morgan Park residence.

“It’s frightful,” Green said when asked to describe what it is like to live in a violent neighborhood. “You never know what might happen.”

The teenage boy was shot Oct. 5 in the 1600 block of West Montvale Avenue after coming home from a football game at Morgan Park High School. Green was scheduled to meet up with friends and then head off to night school classes that evening before he was murdered.

“It is depressing to go out now,“ said Green who claims to know those responsible for her nephew’s death, but police have been unable to arrest the suspects due to a lack of witnesses to the crime.

Shelia Drake, whose son, 18-year-old Cordre Hayes, was shot and killed this month in the West Pullman neighborhood, could relate to Green’s sorrow.

That shared pain and frustration were some of the reasons why the women, along with community and faith leaders, headed down to City Hall Friday to meet with Mayor Rahm Emanuel and police Supt. Garry McCarthy in hopes of coming up with solutions to curb violence that has had a strangle hold on their communities.

So far this year there have been nine fatal shootings in the Roseland neighborhood and seven such shootings in the Englewood and West Englewood areas.

According to Roseland Cease Fire Director Bob Jackson, the communities “have to pull ourselves together because we are under siege by violence.”

The longtime community activist says financial support pumped into the community along with employment for youth would assist in stifling the occurrences of senseless killings.

But for now, the carnage continues.

Monday night police shot and killed a man on the South Side who police officers said had shot two other people. The alleged gunman was gunned down after police said he pointed a gun at them.

That same night, two policemen were shot on the West Side during a drug investigation.

One officer was treated and released after a bullet grazed his head and another bullet caught him in the arm, the other officer remains hospitalized with a bullet lodged behind his ear.

"God was with us tonight," McCarthy said outside the hospital where the officers were treated.

But some faith leaders know the mothers who descended on City Hall last week weren’t so lucky.

Mission of Faith Baptist Church Rev. Gregory Livingston was disappointed that the group was unable to meet with Emanuel or McCarthy and believes the city’s top officials wanted to avoid possible scrutiny.

“No one is blaming the mayor for the kids being shot,” Livingston said. “We were just asking for more help. This is not a political agenda. It is a human agenda.”

There have been more than 20 shootings recently in the Roseland and Pullman area, he said.

Livingston wants city leadership to be more visible in communities hard hit by violence. He said many residents believe officials only come around during election time, a perception he wants to see reversed.

“When kids were shot, we didn’t see the mayor, police superintendent or the schools superintendent,” he said. “More kids have been shot here than troops overseas who are from Chicago. It is domestic terrorism.”

Livingston said for things to change not only in Roseland but other areas, the faith and law enforcement communities have to establish a working relationship.

“It’s about policy,” the Enough is Enough Anti-Violence Coalition leader said. “We need an urban agenda. Keep programs going to keep kids active. We need more police on bike and foot patrols in neighborhoods. These young people have been taught to hate themselves. Bad knowledge creates bad behavior. These kids are worth something.”

Green, who has resided in her neighborhood for 46 years and is currently the block club treasurer, is still waiting for a ray of hope to come.

“I’ve never seen it like this before,” said Green, who feels that parents being responsible for the whereabouts of their own children is key to reducing random acts of violence.

“The parents have gotten younger and younger. The drug situation has hurt. The police need to not treat us like criminals when we call them,” she told the Defender.

All Hayes wants is for the people who killed her son to do the right thing and turn themselves into the police.

“We want justice to be served,” said Hayes shortly after describing her late son as a father of two with aspirations of being a role model for his peers by earning a college degree.

Copyright 2011 Chicago Defender

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