June , 2018

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By Chinta Strausberg


In response to recent nightly shootings from Morgan to Racine along 77th to 80th Streets, Saint Sabina’s Father Michael L. Pfleger late Friday night led scores of supporters and staff throughout the Auburn Gresham community knocking on doors and passing out flyers that called for peace in the community.

“For the last three nights, there have been shootings between 78th and 80th on Aberdeen, Carpenter and May Streets. “There is a new little group over there,” Pfleger said. He is trying to strike a truce with this new gang allegedly responsible for the recent rash of shootings.

A new pastor, Rev. Jedidiah Brown, pastor of the Chosen Generation Church, 2437 E. 87th Street, is a new church. Before praying, Brown said, “I’m out here to learn and to participate because I don’t want us to just be a run of the mill every day kind of church. I want us to be a church like Saint Sabina….”

With the watchful eye of a two-man police van within eyesight, Pfleger stopped youth on the street offering them any help they may need. Volunteers knocked on doors as well and signed up many who took advantage of numerous social programs offered at Saint Sabina’s ARK including free GED programs, employment training, after school recreational programs, a broadcast studio and much more.

Pfleger, who has struck an agreement between several gangs in the community to hold a basketball tournament at Saint Sabina’s ARK, invited other youths to join them sometime next month. Former NBA star Isiah Thomas, who last Friday marched with Pfleger, has promised to attend.

Pfleger is getting other professional basketball stars to join him in this historic one-day of peace tournament. Pfleger has promised to put up the reward for the winner of the tournament and the coalition Purpose Over Pain has agreed to provide the trophies for the winners, National of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan will provide the security with his Fruit of Islam security team, and Pfleger is providing food for the players.

“This has never happened before,” he said. “I’m just walking on faith that we can bring them together for one day so we can have a day of peace,” Pfleger said asking for their prayers that he can pull off this historic event without any problems. Pfleger is bussing in each of the gangs to keep the peace.

One man in a van stopped and shook Pfleger’s hand saying he has lived in the community for the past 45-years. “It’s chaos today,” he told Pfleger. The father said other than going to school his 17-year-old daughter stays in the house living her life on her computer because of the violence.

Another man, Ron Stanley who has lived in the community for the past 12-years, told supporters, “You can get all the police in the world. You’re not going to stop it,” he said referring to the violence in his community. “Everything starts at home. You got to get to these young parents and hold them accountable. You have to not be afraid and stand up and speak up.”

Stanley told this writer, “The violence is totally out-of-control. It’s not going to stop until the people in the community stop it. The police can’t stop it. They can only do so much when they feel like it. A lot of kids live in these building and sell these drugs or know where the drugs are. They are either afraid, they don’t care or they’re getting paid off or maybe all three. I don’t know.”

One of the marchers, Dan Mack, who wore a T-Shirt that said, “We Still Believe” in English and Spanish, said of the violence, “It’s to bad that it has to go on, by everybody coming out even if we get one kid off the street and help him, it’s worthwhile. That’s why I’m here.”

At Aberdeen and 79th, there had been shooting every night. “Last night, they had about 10 calls of shooting on Morgan between 78th and 77th,” said Pfleger leading the marchers who offered their help and encouraged them to call the police then call Saint Sabina. Pfleger continues to ask people to break the ‘Code of Silence’ and work with police to stem the violence.

When Pfleger knocked on the door of one house, a 93-year-old man answered. He told Pfleger he has been married to his wife for the past 69-years. Pfleger told him when they celebrate their 70th anniversary he wants to take them out to dinner.

Down the street, Pfleger ran into a group of well-dressed young ladies one of whom sang to him. Lashonda Jones, a member of the Park Manor Missionary Baptist Church at 83rd and Green Streets, sang “His Eyes Are On The Sparrow.” Her friends began preaching prompting Pfleger to tell them, “Keep on blessing this block.”

That was on May Street where there have been nightly shootings. One man was killed not too far away.

Pfleger ending his march in front of the church singing “Give Glory to God” and thanked the officers for their protection.  Thanking his supporters for their support, Pfleger said, “I don’t know about you but I believe lives are touched….”

Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host. You can e-mail Strausberg at: Chintabernie@aol.com.


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