Five Hundred Black Men March in Solidarity Against Chicago's Violence: Here's What They Are Saying

Black pastors march in Chicago to protest violence. (Credit: Jake Sheridan)

Here’s one that won’t make it to the national news networks. Black pastors and churchgoers marched in Chicago to protest against the violence that occurred in the city last week.

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The march was intended to repudiate the unrest that occurred when groups of teenagers took to the streets to vandalize vehicles and city property. Some attacked tourists and two of the teens were shot.

Fox 32 reported:

There were no large or disruptive gatherings forming in and around Chicago’s Millennium Park Saturday. What there has been – a larger police presence and others coming together to deter another teen takeover.

Half a dozen of Chicago’s most prominent African American churches collaborated in the march.

At Michigan Avenue and Roosevelt Road stood more than 500 black men in solidarity for a cause greater than themselves.

One participant told reporters: “What I think will help them is each man take one, to learn there’s another way in life, and you don’t have to go that way.”

Former Illinois State Sen. James Meeks said the participants “want to let young people know they’re supporters,” but stressed that there is “behavior accepted and not acceptable.”

Pastor Anthony Spencer told Fox 32 that that “something” that has “been missing,” in the lives of Chicago’s youth. “They need to hear from us, what’s the effect of the trauma, they’ve been experiencing.”

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The march, organized by Pastor Charlie Dates, took place on Saturday evening and aimed to address the violence and trauma affecting young people in the city. The organizers believe that the local faith community needs to be present and that men need to participate in addressing the issue.

The marchers directed young people to programs and resources, including jobs, and aim to mentor and guide them towards the right path. The organizers emphasize that they are not marching to police young people, but rather to be present for them and show that the community cares about their well-being. They also highlight the need for broader involvement in addressing deeper-rooted issues and not just reacting when violence occurs in wealthy areas.

“We are not walking against our children,” organizer Charlie Dates, senior pastor of Salem Baptist Church of Chicago and Progressive Baptist Church, told the Chicago Tribune. “Our children are brilliant, but we are not absolving them of responsibility for the events that took place last weekend.”

Another pastor insisted that the city’s youth need “to know that men in our city care about them enough to not only get involved and be present, but also to mentor them, guide them in the right path and hold them accountable.”

One of the faith leaders also rebuked the city for only caring about violence when it occurs outside of poor neighborhoods. He highlighted those who were “finally appalled and disturbed” by the violence when it happened downtown. “Those people have a problem. You didn’t care until it touched you,” the pastor said.

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These are the types of stories that should get more attention. Black churches and organizations across the country are working every day to address gang violence and other problems in their communities. These individuals work tirelessly to reach out to at-risk youth and provide alternatives to getting involved in destructive lifestyles.

But instead of raising awareness of these groups, most of which could use as much help as they can get, national media only seems to care when there is violence or bloodshed that they can use to fearmonger and push a particular agenda. Meanwhile, too many in these communities are suffering under the boot of a government that does not care for their needs and only serves to make their conditions worse. But hey, if it bleeds, it leads, right?

The opinions expressed by contributors are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of RedState.com.

 

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