CHICAGO (CBS) — No crime in Chicago for a day; it sounds like an impossible goal, but pastors and community groups on the South and West sides want to make it happen.
CBS 2’s Steven Graves reports close to a dozen events on Saturday promoted peace on city streets, including in Lawndale, the site of two mass shootings just minutes apart last month.READ MORE: South Shore Woman Sees Police Activity After Shooting Leaves Man Dead, Only To Find Out It Was Her Own Beloved Brother
Now that people can get out and hold public events after last year, they are doing that for the good, uniting to increase peace; from picnics to play and prayer.
At 63rd and Cottage Grove, walk by and you’re transported to the church. Members of Woodlawn Baptist Church brought the Bible to the streets on Saturday.
It is their way of fighting crime.
“Crime, we may not be able to stop you, but we can pray it down” said Pastor Jeffery Campbell.
Campbell said he believes in that, because he’s seen it work.
Over the past two years of doing this, he says the crime here – drug selling and robberies – have stopped.
“As we interacted with the young men that were here, they would actually join in the prayer,” he said.
One corner changed, another next on the list.
Ask Jamarrion Asbury, a future leader, if it can happen, you’d think so.
“I think we can if we all come together just like this. Just come together and just try to influence some type of behavior in the city,” he said.
“No Crime Day” holds significance on the South and West Sides; as kids, pastors, and community groups join together to push for peace.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Patchy Frost Well Inland
“It’s amazing. It’s a beautiful thing actually, because a lot of people don’t get to experience things like this in their lifetime, given the place that they come from,” Asbury said.
For Asbury, it’s playing in a basketball game at West Pullman Park, while around him there’s food, COVID shots, and community; a safe haven in a neighborhood where shootings are up about 40% from this time last year.
“It happens so much around here that it’s normalized. A lot of people hear a gunshot and run; but us, we hear it and we just keep walking,” Asbury said.
Hooping in the West Pullman Park is an escape for 15-year-old Lonnie Bobbitt.
“This is keeping me out of the streets; football and basketball,” Bobbitt said.
Today, there were a lot more people watching and cheering.
“It’s amazing. It’s a beautiful thing,” Bobbitt said.
About 12 hours before the event in West Pullman a child one year younger than Bobbitt and Asbury was shot and critically wounded in Albany Park. A 12-year-old boy also was wounded in that attack.
But today is about finding peace, love, and unity; through the basketball hoop, or even educating about breastfeeding.
“That engagement and that interaction is very important,” said Joanne Allen, who is working in Englewood to get more Black women involved; an unorthodox way of approaching youth and violence.
“Human milk is alive. It gives life, it creates life, and it contributes to a positive and a peaceful life,” she added.
However you look at it, each group shares a single purpose, including a prayer team ready to go beyond a single block to wherever they’re called.MORE NEWS: Constituent Says She And Others Were Kicked Out Virtual Meeting With Embattled Ald. Jim Gardiner, And Alderman Isn't Providing Answers
Chicago police also participated in some of the day’s events. Organizers said “No Crime Day” is an old idea that was revitalized, and they hope to do it again next year, with smaller events in between.