Chicago went through Easter Sunday without a homicide, something a coalition of Far Southwest Side churches striving for a no-murder day on Easter considered miraculous.
Churches in Beverly and Morgan Park had worshipped on Sunday with the goal that Easter could be a day the city upholds the pledge “thou shalt not murder.”
“I think it’s fabulous. It’s such an amazing gift to be able to see a single day where there was no murder,” said the Rev. Karen Mooney of the Beverly Unitarian Church.
Thousands of faithful across the city signed the pledge, committing themselves to learning more about the sources of gun and gang violence and doing more to intervene before it’s too late. Beverly and Morgan Park churches in recent months have hosted workshops on creating educational and employment opportunities.
“I don’t think we would take credit for the no murders. I think there was something much larger at work,” Mooney said. “But we need to continue shining a light on the level of violence that the city is experiencing right now, and continue to work toward changing the systems that lead toward violence toward our city.”
While there was one homicide on March 25 and one on March 26, March 27 — Easter Sunday — saw no homicides, confirmed Kevin Quaid, a Chicago police spokesman. There were still several shootings Sunday, however.
In Beverly and Morgan Park, residents are largely isolated from the violence but consider themselves a crucial force in working toward a solution, clergy say.
The campaign coincided with the city’s deadliest start to the year in nearly two decades, according to crime statistics. By Good Friday, the Chicago Police Department had already counted 135 violent deaths. While none of these took place in Beverly and Morgan Park, six of last year’s 488 homicides took place on the edge of Morgan Park. None of last year’s homicides took place in Beverly.
The Easter Sunday campaign emerged from a controversy last fall when members of the Beverly Unitarian Church posted a “Black Lives Matter” message on the digital sign outside its building. Mooney, a newly appointed minister at the church, was surprised by backlash from some in the community who interpreted the saying as being anti-white or anti-police.
The congregation had intended the sign to be provocative, not polarizing. Mooney said its underlying message that all lives matter was clear and crucial, but it was black lives that had been devalued and therefore needed to be highlighted.
Source: Chicago Tribune | Marwa Eltagouri