Chicago crime protests ensue with Jesse Jackson on Michigan Avenue after police department released data on murder and shootings

CHICAGO (WLS) – More than 100 people marched on Michigan Avenue Friday afternoon to call attention to gun violence.

“You see us carrying pictures, pictures of over 79 victims who were 18 or younger,” said Father Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina’s Church. “I know of two young people who have been shot in the past 20 hours.”

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Pfleger, who helped organize the March for Remembrance and Peace, said they chose the city center for the protest because violence is not just a problem on the south and west sides; it’s a Chicago problem. He said everyone should speak out against the outbreak of gun violence.

According to data from the Chicago Police Department, there were at least 794 homicides in 2021, the highest number since 1995. Blacks represent the overwhelming majority of victims.

“Our children are becoming an endangered species and our children deserve the right to live,” said Pfleger.

Superintendent David Brown described 2021 as a difficult year during a press conference on the city’s crime figures on Thursday. Brown pledged more detectives to solve the murders and more officers’ engagement with the community.

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Reverend Jesse Jackson said more needs to be done to keep those responsible for the killings off the streets.

“We must speak out against the killers. We must not be a sanctuary for the killers,” Jackson said before marching with the protesters.

Pfleger said he believes city leaders have prioritized tackling COVID-19 over gun violence.

“So aren’t we also concerned about the epidemic of violence because most blacks and browns are being killed. This is no longer acceptable. If you want the city to be okay, take care of all the city, ”he said.

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Those affected by the violence say everyone must work together to avoid another deadly year.

“We have to make a change and it starts with our communities but it also starts with detectives,” said Tenika Blackman, who is one of the countless mothers in Chicago who have lost children to gun violence.

Teyonna Lofton survived a shooting last year while celebrating her high school graduation.

Lofton said she was saddened by the lack of progress in reducing violence.

“I love the city and it’s time to step up and work together and act like we love it too,” said Lofton, who is currently a student in New Orleans.

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