“People killing, people dying, children hurt, and you hear them crying. Can you practice what you preach, or would you turn the other cheek? Father, Father, Father, help us, send some guidance from above. Cuz people got me, got me questioning, ‘Where is the love’?”
These heartfelt lyrics from the single “Where is the Love?” by the Black Eyed Peas came to my mind when I heard about the tragedy which befell Chicago during the 4th of July weekend.
84 hours. 84 shootings. One shooting per hour occurred in the streets of Southside, West side, and even, North side Chicago during the 4th of July weekend. The shocking news, according to USAToday.com, is that the number of homicides has decreased since last year. However, the number of shootings has increased from 833 in June 2013 to 880 shootings as of June 29, 2014.
As the news of the bloody holiday weekend continuously flashes across my television screen and social media, I’m wondering if anyone else is seeing what I’m seeing. I see this news as a cry for help from Chicago. This city – which is now referred by some as “Chiraq,” (a combination of Chicago and Iraq) – has endured extreme amounts of gun violence and was also named the bloodiest city in the nation since 2012. Without question, our brothers and sisters seriously need our help. But what can we do?
What Can Be Done
Tuesday evening, the Reverend Dr. Otis Moss, III, the prominent pastor of the Trinity United Church of Christ, located on Chicago’s South Side, spoke about the issue of the homicides with MSNBC’s Ed Shultz. Pastor Moss reiterated that churches must hold elected officials accountable. Chicago’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel, has made reducing the amount of gun violence one of his top priorities; however the city has not seen much change. (According to USA Today, one of the fatal shootings took place down the street from Emanuel’s home, on the north side of Chicago, which does not witness even a quarter of the bloodshed that other Chicago areas witness.)
Roland Martin suggests that if these 16 homicides that occurred on the south and west sides of Chicago had occurred on the North side, the country would really be in an upset. What will it take for us to show compassion for our children in these seemingly forgotten areas of Chicago?
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Maya J. Boddie