More religious leaders uniting to end violence in Chicago; will hold Breakfast Meeting and Press Conference August 28th


Minister’s son shot on way to college, Rabbi says ‘no reason to own assault weapon’


CHICAGO, IL – Rev.  Clarence Smith, pastor of New Life Ministries, knows about violence first-hand. His 17-year-old son, Archie Harris, a freshman at Kishwaukee College, was shot at 1:30 a.m. Friday, August 24th in the 3500 block of West Crenshaw Street while saying goodbye to his friends.

Smith is yet another minister who vowed to attend Tuesday’s, 9:30 a.m., August 28, 2012, breakfast meeting at the New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church, 4301 W. Washington, in support of the reinstatement of the assault weapons ban and passage of the HB 5831 legislation calling for the registration of all guns.

 “We were getting ready to take our son to Kishwaukee College where he plans to major in business administration,” said Rev. Smith. “My son was standing outside of his friend’s house when three guys suddenly came out from the alley and started shooting. My son was shot in his left leg.

“The bullet went in one side and out the other,” his father said. “This violence has really hit home. This has gone to another level. At Mount Sinai Hospital where they took my son, officials told me they see four to five shotgun victims a night. I feel irate about this because we hear about things like this, but now it has hit home. This time, it was my son,” said Rev. Smith.

“I have done many funerals but to hear those numbers of nightly gunshot victims literally upsets me. I understand what Pastor Acree and Father Pfleger are doing, but I’m calling for all hands on deck because we’re losing so many kids,” said Smith.

Last night the tables were turned,” Smith said. “What if this were somebody else’s kid shot in the head. All pastors, all denominations, everybody should come together. All hands on deck” are needed, Smith said, referring to Tuesday’s, August 28th, 9:30 a.m. breakfast meeting and 11 a.m. press conference at the New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church, 4301 W. Washington.

 “I will be there,” said Smith who is waiting for his son to be discharged from the hospital. “We’re going to still take him to school,” he said.

Other ministers also spoke out over the escalation of violence in Chicago like Rev. Jackie Lynn from the St. James Cathedral Church. “I know that people of faith are working together across the city and the suburbs. We can get sensible gun laws passed in Illinois.”

Rabbi Michael Balinsky, executive vice president, Chicago Board of Rabbis, said, “I cannot understand any moral reason for someone not a member of law enforcement to own an assault weapon. Too many people have been murdered already. I support the immediate need to stop the violence, to get rid of guns…. I pledge m continued involvement.”

Pastor Dwayne L. Grant from the United Methodist Church, said, “How does a kid on my block end up with the same guns they use in Iraq? You don’t need an AK47 to go hunting and you don’t need a Glock to protect your family. We have to get assault weapons off our streets,”

“Gun lobbyists suggest that reviving the ban on assault weapons will not cease potential violence, especially if a person is committed to performing the act. Let’s revive the ban and test their theory,” said Rev. Dr. L. Bernard Jakes, pastor of West Point Missionary Baptist Church.