CHICAGO (CBS) — After days of clashes between some black and Latino Chicagoans, there was an attempt Wednesday night to have peace.
As CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported, a peaceful protest and a call for unity between the black and Latino communities was held in Pilsen. But just before 10 p.m., gunshots were heard as people ran.
Details on what happened were not immediately clear.
The effort at peace came after several days of violence.
Earlier in the parking lot of a recently-looted Walgreens at 47th Street and Ashland Avenue in Back of the Yards, people were hungry. There was an appetite not just for food, but for understanding.
“We know that there’s a lot of racial tensions right now,” said Berto Aguayo, founder of Increase the Peace. “We are calling for black and brown to unite through the food pantry.”
Aguayo organized the event after several recent violent incidents in predominately Latino neighborhoods, some of which were caught on video.
They reportedly showed neighborhood gang members protecting businesses from looters, chasing out and targeting African-Americans solely based on their race, according to Aguayo.
“Yes, there was an anti-black sentiment in the Latino community that we have to hold ourselves responsible to,” he said.
“We are acknowledging that we’re grappling with an issue, said Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th). “I had a report of a family that was chased out of our neighborhood. The last 48 hours have been like a war zone in our community.”
Back at the food drive, we met Give up the Streets founder Earl Walker.
“I heard there was conflict between black and brown here,” he said.
Tensions were so high that Walker thought he was showing up as a peacekeeper to another racial conflict
“It’s definitely accelerated due to what’s going on,” he said.
But he was met by an ally in Aguayo at a peaceful event instead.
“Now, protecting your own, in that sense, I get it,” Walker said. “But once you start chasing people out of your neighborhood and using racial slurs, now you’ve put African-Americans on heightened alert, and then the retaliation starts.”
“These events are happening if more than you see all the tension that might be going on,” Aguayo said.
And for the second night in a row, the Pilsen community gathering to send the loud message that all are welcome.
“We are trying to quell it before it gets worse,” Walker said.
“It’s up to us to unite to make sure that we’re fighting with one another, not against one another,” Aguayo added.
The march in Pilsen was peaceful, but it ended with gunshots despite a heavy police presence.