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'I'm Constantly Worried': Chicago Leaders Plan To Combat Violence Over Holiday Weekend

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The Fourth of July weekend has been a particularly violent period in Chicago.

Last year, 87 people were shot. Seventeen killed.

Many groups across the city are trying to keep the peace this year.

As CBS 2's Jim Williams reported Wednesday, community groups are willing to put in the time throughout the holiday weekend.

At Leo Catholic High School, 7901 S. Sangamon St., it may be summer. But the freshmen are already in class.

Their principal, Shaka Rawls, has plans for them this Friday.

"We're going to address them all at one time. This is our freshman seminar, we have about 50 kids in the building right now," Rawls said.

Fifty kids will hear from two African American fraternities. The topic: Staying safe over the Fourth of July weekend, and throughout the year.

"Getting them to understand what's a dangerous situation: how to avoid being in crowded spaces where they might be in danger, how to not loiter," Rawls said. "Don't sit on porches, giving students the opportunity to make some wise decisions."

"We've got to put the work in," said Reverend Walter Jones.

Work to prevent violence this warm holiday weekend. Schools, community groups and churches leading the way.

"We've got a couple of prayer vigils planned."

Jones, who heads several organizations on the West Side, will be on the streets here throughout the weekend.

"More folks are apt to come out and so our presence when we do come out. We don't come out and walk through it, we come out there and congregate and engage. And make our presence felt."

On the South Side, David Benifield and nearly 100 men and women from the group Acclivus wear high visibility vests and will go from neighborhood to neighborhood.

"And just see how everybody is doing and try to implement a peace process, where we can all celebrate and have no violence at the end of the day," Benifield said.

Leo High School's Rawls will be thinking of his students, hoping they've taken the lessons here to heart.

"I've taken on a parental role with these young men," Rawls said. "As any parent would know, I'm constantly worried about my children."

And that's just a small sample of the violence-prevention efforts within the city.

So while many of us will enjoy fireworks and barbecues, they'll be at work.

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