Mayor Emanuel, community leaders announce launch of “Summer of Faith and Action”

(The Gate/Sonya Eldridge)

(The Gate/Sonya Eldridge)

Dozens of community and faith leaders joined Mayor Rahm Emanuel this morning at the Garfield Park Field house to announce the kickoff of the “Summer of Faith and Action.”

The anti-violence initiative, spearheaded by the Mayor’s office, asks pastors, community leaders, business owners and residents to organize events and activities in neighborhoods citywide to promote peace.

The initiative will launch Friday in neighborhoods citywide from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. to begin the Memorial Day weekend.

(The Gate/Sonya Eldridge)

(The Gate/Sonya Eldridge)

“This Friday, along with our neighbors across the city, we’re going to have an opportunity to show the city and the world who we are and what we’re made of,” said Craig Chico, executive director of the Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council (BYNC).

The BYNC has organized a peace march that will begin with a candlelight vigil at Davis Square Park (4430 S. Marshfield).  Marchers will then walk to Cornell Square Park (1809 W. 50th), the site of a mass shooting last September that wounded 13 people, including a 3-year-old.

During the press conference, Mayor Emanuel called upon all communities of Chicago to unite in taking back the streets by offering safe and positive activities to the city’s children and families.

“Every child deserves a childhood, every child deserves to hear laughter.  Every child deserves to have their optimism in their adolescence and their youth and not have the familiarity of gun violence replace the familiarity of laughter and play,” Emanuel said.

To learn more about the BYNC’s Faith and Action March and Prayer Vigil call 773-523-4416.