CHICAGO (CBS) — Fed up with violence in their community, a group of Chicago youths has launched an effort to camp out overnight this summer in neighborhoods plagued by shootings.
The Pilsen-based nonprofit The Resurrection Project has sponsored the #IncreaseThePeace campaign, a 7-week initiative in which more than 40 youths will camp out once a week on “hot spot” blocks at times when violence is most likely to occur.
The Resurrection Project wants the campouts to create safer spaces in high-crime neighborhoods.
“We do it for the love of our community. We do it because we believe that, if young people can come together and be able to be strategic, be able to be encouraging and empowering, that other young people will also be able to come partake in that, and also do that for their own community. So, essentially, it’s like a domino effect,” participant Deztinee Geiger said.
The first campout comes on the heels of the July 4th weekend, when more than 100 people were shot in Chicago, 14 of them fatally.
The project will begin with a campout in the Back of the Yards neighborhood, outside of St. Joseph Church at 4821 S. Hermitage Av. The event will start with a peace march. The group also has planned activities centered around food, dance, sports, bonfires, and nonviolence training.
Many kids in the violence-prone neighborhoods targeted by the #IncreaseThePeace campaign grew up seeing crime tape and hearing gunfire on a regular basis.
“It’s for the kids, you know? Growing up, I wish I would have had things like this going on that I could be involved in. It would have kept me out of a lot of trouble, and that’s the reason I do it, too. It keeps me away from trouble, and I’m leading by example,” participant Carlos Yanez said.
Police also will be on hand for each event.
The 12-hour campouts will be held every Friday for seven weeks, starting at 5 p.m. each night.