Over the Fourth of July weekend, Mothers Against Senseless Killings in Chicago took to the streets with hopes of stopping gun violence in their community. With watchful mothers patrolling the community of Englewood, the neighborhood was free of gun violence over the long weekend.
“We have to become more proactive rather than reactive, but it can’t work if the community doesn’t get involved,” Manasseh said. “This is a people-driven movement, not just an organization, it’s a movement, and a movement needs people. Anyone can do it.”
Initially it was a shooting in Englewood that prompted the group of local mothers to take action. In June, a shooter opened fire on a group of women, fatally wounding 34-year-old Lucille Barnes. Mothers Against Senseless Killings (MASK) plans to patrol on various corners within the neighborhood in four-hour blocks. This will continue every day until Labor Day. After Labor Day, Chicago Public Schools' Safe Passage neighborhood program will restart. Confident that violence will not occur under the watch of a “motherly eye,” the group hopes to prevent retaliation.
MASK also hopes to reconnect with children that may turn to violence due to a lack of parental presence. The group sees gun violence as simply a symptom of a greater problem. According to MASK, parents have relinquished too much power to their teenagers. Manasseh and her army of mothers plans to change this unfortunate reality through love and compassion.
“A mother’s love is selfless, annoying, and always there,” Manasseh said. “This is what mothers do best, get in the way.”
In addition to MASK, the Chicago community also works with Target Area Development Corporation. The organization trains community members in conflict resolution and assigns these members to particular areas in the neighborhood.
Outside of Englewood though, for another year, Independence Day weekend shootings in Chicago remain alarmingly high, as violence from Friday to Sunday left 10 people dead and 55 injured, the Chicago Tribune reports. The youngest victim was Amari Brown, a 7-year-old boy.
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(Photo: WLS-TV/ABC-7, ABC Local News Chicago)