CHICAGO (CBS) — Young people demanding changes to how Chicago tackles violent crime took to the streets on the South Side on Saturday, asking the city to commit more resources to their communities, not just to more officers on the streets.
Twenty-two-year-old Nita Tennyson bore the heavy weight of names on her back Saturday; ones of young friends lost to gun violence in Chicago.
“There’s not enough graduations, weddings, baby showers. It’s funerals and urns. That’s all I’ve been to in the past four years,” she said.
The tragic cycle continued this past July Fourth weekend, when at least 79 people were shot in Chicago, 15 of them fatally.
“I ended up losing one of my friends this past weekend, and I wanted to do the march, because it’s enough,” Tennyson said.
On Saturday, she and the group GoodKids MadCity (GKMC) organized a “love march” in the Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood.
It came as at least 26 people have been shot so far this weekend, five of them fatally, including a 15-year-old boy who was killed when he was shot in the back in Jeffrey Manor on Friday.
It all sparked even more passionate words from the march organizers, including 18-year-old Miracle Boyd, who helped lead the charge.
“GKMC is currently working on a campaign and ordinance titled the peacebook,” Boyd said.
It’s aimed at tackling gun violence by providing resources to struggling Black and Brown communities in Chicago.
“We will incentivize street factions and gangs to go through a restorative justice process, so they can be accountable and heal from their trauma,” Boyd said. “They will also come to terms, and agree to peace treaties, and end the cycle of violence that has claimed the lives of women and children.”
Seven-year-old Natalia Wallace was one of those victims on July 4; caught in the middle of gang gunfire as she played in her grandmother’s yard.
Police now have plans to engage more with neighborhoods, putting officers in hot spot areas for community service to gain trust.
The organizers of Saturday’s march said that starts when they can trust the ones who lead.
“Our people are the people that’s getting killed. Our people are getting not enough resources. They’re not getting enough love shown,” Tennyson said.
These young people are asking for money from the city, which would involve passing an ordinance.
They also want to see more elected officials involved. Only one state senator showed up for their march.