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Community Groups Taking Action This Memorial Day Weekend Amid Worries About Youth Violence In Chicago

CHICAGO (CBS) -- It has already been a deadly year for children in Chicago, and many are concerned things will only get worse as we head into the summer months.

CBS 2's Meredith Barack on Tuesday looked into what is being done - starting this coming Memorial Day weekend - to curb some of that violence.

Last year, despite the stay-at-home order, more than 40 people were shot during Memorial Day weekend. Several others were killed.

As many are planning on gathering this holiday weekend, there are concerns that there will be an increase in violence as well.

"Gun violence is plaguing Chicago," said Jahmal Cole, chief executive officer of the organization My Block, My Hood, My City. "Gun violence is the number one cause of death amongst children and teenagers in Chicago and we've got to do something about it."

On the heels of Memorial Day weekend, a call has been issued to stop the violence in Chicago. Last year, 10 people were killed Memorial Day weekend.

But recently, the violence has particularly impacted the youngest of residents.

So far this year, there have been at least 21 children killed by guns in Chicago - compared to 2020 when 13 children died of gun violence the whole year.

"It's just tragic, tragic - kids losing their lives," Cole said. "We shouldn't have to bury our kids, it should be the other way around."

This weekend, My Block My Hood My City is vowing to promote positivity and provide communities on the South and West sides with family-friendly activities. For a second consecutive year, the group is funding and hosting the events.

"We're going to be at Ogden Park (6500 S. Racine Ave.) from 10 to 4 (Saturday) doing a barbecue," Cole said. "Of course, we're going to have a workout class."

They also want others to get out and encourage young people to engage in safe activities during a time when violence is usually high throughout the city.
It's part of their 'Hit the Hood' initiative started during the height of the pandemic last year.

"What's something simple can you do to make a difference? And we're going to be funding these," Cole said. "You don't have to be innovative. You just have to do something positive."

Cole said you don't have to be an activist or politician to create a ripple of hope that will turn into a wave of change in the city.

"What can you do to spread some love this weekend so we can drive out all this hate? You don't got to be no activist. You don't got to be running for office," he said. "Get on the block. Meet some people. Say hello."

Ten organizations are expected to participate in family-friendly community activities this weekend. Below are the organizations with their times and locations:


My Block My Hood My City 6500 S. Racine Ave., Saturday, noon-4 p.m.
WakeUpChicago 14th and Morgan streets, Monday, 11-6 p.m.
Think Outside Da Block 6603 S. Hermitage Ave., Saturday, 2-8 p.m.
Nita's Love Train The March will be at 63rd Street and Ashland Avenue, but the popup will be at Ogden park (65th and Racine), Saturday, 2 p.m.-4 p.m.
National A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum 10406 S. Maryland Ave., Monday, 2-8 p.m.
Them Sisters 109th Street and Perry Avenue, Sunday, noon-3 p.m.
Berto Aguayo/ Increase The Peace 2600 S. Christiana Ave., Saturday, 4-9 p.m.
Mr. Dads Fathers Club 6300 S. Ashland Ave., noon on Saturday
Heavenly Cynt Youth Douglass Park, Monday, 1 p.m.
Changing Lives 1401 S. Sacramento Ave., Saturday, noon-3 p.m.

Meanwhile, starting Tuesday, June 1, you can apply for a $5,000 'Hit the Hood' grant that would be used for a 4th of July event. More information on how to apply can be found here.

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