Wednesday, May 27, 2009

In Little Village, Rapid Response to a Shooting

I've heard a lot over the years about how CeaseFire uses its street networks to mount rapid responses to violence to help minimize or even prevent further incidents and retaliations. Below is a close-up look at how it actually gets done.

This is an excerpt from an email sent today by Michael Rodríguez, the violence prevention director at Enlace Chicago (formerly Little Village Community Development Corporation).

"On Wednesday of last week just before 2:30 p.m., three of our Enlace-CeaseFire staff were in the New Life Church van driven by our Enlace-Safety Net Works staff member. They were on the way to drop a young person off and head to a Community Schools cookout at Eli Whitney school, with all the cookout materials in the rear of the van.

"As they were heading west on 26th Street they witnessed a young man who had been shot lying on the ground. They jumped to action and took the young man, shot twice in the arm and the stomach, to Mt. Sinai Hospital where he was treated in their trauma unit and underwent surgery immediately. Just a few hours later, while at the Eli Whitney cookout, we heard five retaliatory gun shots. The shooting occurred on Harding and 31st with two young men shot in the leg.

"In response to these shootings, Enlace-CeaseFire Little Village organized a rally where about 150 members of the community, friends from other CeaseFire locations, and members of the Violence Prevention Collaborative came together in prayer for peace. I just learned that also in attendance was the young man shot on 26th and Central Park.

"We would like to thank the following organizations for contributing on the day:
  • New Life Church
  • YMCA Street Intervention Program
  • Alderman Ricardo Muñoz (22nd Ward)
  • CeaseFire Brighton Park, Humboldt Park, Lawndale and other areas
  • SER, Jobs for Progress
  • Beyond the Ball
  • Little Village Environmental Justice Organization
  • Enlace Chicago CeaseFire, Safety Net Works, and other staff

"Rep. Mendoza sent her well wishes while she was in Springfield. Also 10th District Commander Ruiz called yesterday to thank us for our efforts. During an Enlace CeaseFire meeting yesterday we recommitted to increasing our efforts in the area to Stop the Shootings, Stop the Killings; please be on the lookout for future actions and please remember to refer to us the most troubled youth for mentorship.

"One last thought is that these things happen very quickly and word does not get out as fast as we would like. For a few of you this might be the first time hearing about this. We will be setting up a mass text list to assist in getting word out quickly in addition to our email efforts.

"Also, one last pitch ;) CeaseFire is not in the state budget currently. If you plan on being in Springfield , or have a call planned already, or now have something to call about, please urge legislators (particularly in the Senate) to support HB 4431 introduced by Yarbrough and Mendoza, which would fund CeaseFire . . . Please call Senator John Cullerton, (217) 782-2728, and your home district senator."

So there you have it: the brutal, heartbreaking and sometimes exhilarating work of building safer communities. My hat is off to those involved in the day-to-day struggle.


Anonymous said...

the young man that was shot was already being assisted by another person when the enlace staff was passing by....their failure to thank him and take the glory for his quick thinking is another example of how they operate.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter who else was there it's everyone's responsibility to come to the aid of an injured person. I don't think the injured man really initialy knew who was helping him and at the time I'm pretty sure he wasn't concerned about that.

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