CHICAGO (CBS) — Spikes in violence are typical during holiday weekends, and this Labor Day weekend in Chicago has been no exception.
As CBS 2’s Marissa Parra reported, a small antiviolence group gathered in the South Austin neighborhood late Sunday afternoon. The same group was out during the July 4th holiday weekend, and they came back Sunday in anticipation of more violence.READ MORE: 'An Important Time For Us': Chicagoans Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month
“The trauma is definitely real,” said Marcus Mitchell. “Seeing stuff like this on a daily basis, it bothers you.”
As of late Sunday afternoon, at least 50 people had been shot in Chicago since 5 p.m. Friday, and three had died. A total of nine surviving victims were under 18, and the youngest was 4-year-old Mychal Moultry, who has since died. The next youngest was a 13-year-old who survived.
Given that reality, violence interruption has taken on a whole new meaning.
“I’m definitely shook up about it. I’m definitely hurt about it,” Mitchell said, “because we don’t want to see no kids — we don’t want to see no one get hurt, let alone any kids. So it definitely bothers me, but it definitely drives me to do my job more and more to try to prevent this from happening.”
Mitchell works with the Institute for Nonviolence in Chicago. Preventing violence in Chicago knows no off-hours for sleep or holidays like Labor Day.READ MORE: Downtown Chicago Roadblocks Quell Mexican Independence Day Street Celebrations
“You got a lot of people who want to grill and have a good time, then you have some people that think about losses and things that took place with them and their friends and their family – and their minds are somewhere else, and that’s part of the trauma,” he said.
Some mothers and fathers are ditching the grills to fast – choosing to labor instead over curbing Chicago’s violence.
A three day prayer vigil began on Saturday morning at Madison Street and Central Avenue, and will continue until Monday – when a rally will be held at noon. A group of mothers is sleeping in tents as they sacrifice their holiday weekend.
“Austin is the largest black community in the state,” the Rev. Jacqueline Reed, pastor of Every Block a Village Church, said in a news release. “We want to show the dignity, pride and love in our community, by heralding family values and education. People need to see a display of love and moral standards on the streets; they need to know we care and there is a better way.”
They hope to make a statement of solidarity for other victims – one of strength in the face of violence – and a plea for help.
“We need help within our communities,” Mitchell said. “We need those resources.”MORE NEWS: 'We're Back': Store Owner Reopens Chicago Sports On Michigan Avenue After 2020 Unrest
Antiviolence groups across the city have made the case before that they need more resources and funding to keep doing the work they do.