Community activists unite to reduce gun violence

Community Activist Ja’Mal Green stood across the street from the University of Chicago Hospital Trauma Center, 5656 S. Maryland, to announce an anti-violence initiative focused on community involvement.

“The only solution to gun violence in our communities is going to come from the community members themselves,” Green said.

Green made the announcement on Tuesday, surrounded by Father Michael Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina Church; Tio Hardiman, President and CEO of Violence Interrupters, Illinois State Representative LaShawn K. Ford; Ameena Matthews; and other families who have lost loved ones to gun violence.

With “The Solution Starts With Us” initiative, Green called on community members from all across the city to be all hands-on deck to help reduce violence. Two Town Halls will take place, one from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 17, at Annex, 7851 S. Cottage Grove. The other will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, July 20, at New Mount Pilgrim Church, 4301 W. Washington.

“At these Town Halls we’re going to craft a plan to hold these entities accountable,” he said.

Green said the first ask is to create a city-wide witness protection plan.

“This is the fear, people think, “why should I come forward and risk my life,” he said.

Green added, it is essential to provide necessary protection to corroborating witnesses. He also spoke about programs for ex-felons and more mental health care facilities and resources.

“We have to hold every elected official accountable,” said Pfleger.

He also called on churches, mosques and synagogues, as well as community members, to step up. And, called on faith communities to take the four blocks — North, South, East and West – of their buildings to look after. He said it would make a major impact.

“Challenge your members to be organizers of their blocks,” he said.

Pam Bosley is the mother of Terrell Bosley, who was killed outside a church on the Far South Side, spoke during the press conference.

“I believe in your household, you know what’s going on,” she said. “I’m calling on families. It starts with us.”

James Hill, father of Brittany Hill, who was shot with her child in her arms, also spoke. He said he has been to court every day.

“I’ve always been active…but the violence spreads,” he said. “I sit on my block, I’m a part of my community. I’m a part of humanity.”

Hill added, he knows people don’t want to go to funerals. He encouraged people to come out of their houses and sit on their porches.

“We have to take back our communities by bringing our communities back to us,” he said.

Green was a childhood friend of Brittany Hill.

“This pain runs deep with all of us,” Green said. “Everybody should care.”

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