Tuesday, April 10, 2012

CeaseFire's message doesn't work in Rogers Park

Banners, bumpers stickers, circle prayers, and orange t-shirts
will not stop the bullets from flying in Rogers Park.
(Rogers Park) - You can bring in every Reverend in the city to Rogers Park, if you want.

It won't make a difference.

You can put as many "orange" shirts on people, until you turn "blue" in the face.

That's not going to help either.

CeaseFire's message to the kids, the kids who's friends are dying from bullets, just doesn't resinate.

On April 10, 2012, at 6 p.m., CeaseFire held one of its protocol circle-jerks, to denounce the recent murder of James Brown.

Brown was gunned down by a 9 mm pistol in broad daylight a week earlier, at 6822 North Ashland.

About 15 actual neighbors attended, along with a sea of CeaseFire "violence interruptors," in their bright orange shirts.

Problem is, the message they should be preaching is to the kids who hung out across the street. Those who know what goes down - and won't snitch.

Not those law-abiding neighbors holding candles, safely protected on the steps of the United Church of Rogers Park.

I personally spoke with a half dozen of these confused teens across the street, while the pastors and religious leaders on the other side of the street were preaching and praying to those who never have carried a gun.

What did the kids tell me? These kids, aged 15 to 19 years-old, "see no hope." And, these kids knew James Brown personally.

One girl I talked with dated the child shooter, James Brown. She knew he shot a kid a couple of years ago, when the two dated as kids at Sullivan High School.

You could see when she talked about it, she still has feelings for him. Why? Because no one at home cares about her. That's what she says.

But, her friends on the street - the street she called "Ashland" - where they all hang out with their friends in the same situation, do.

Her friends on the street cared about her. I could see that as I talked with every one of them. They did care about each other.

She, and her friends, felt the people cross the street, holding a candlelight vigil, didn't. She said it was "all for show." I told her I couldn't agree more.

In fact, most of the kids I was talking to said, "the worst is yet to come." I wanted to ask more questions, but one of the CeaseFire interrupters cock-blocked me, to pass their PR CeaseFire message to them - and scared them away.

I had these kids discussing the hard-core stuff, like why their friends carry and shoot guns at each other?

I asked them if any of them had ever shot a gun? The kids were open and candid. I'll save these stories for the next shooting.

A blow-hard Reverend who didn't even cross the street
to the people he should be preaching to.
Then, the damn CeaseFire interrupter crossed the street and interrupted us. The kids walked away from the 'CeaseFire interruptor' in fear of saying something they shouldn't have.

Who know's why? But, they all know me as "Mr. Brokenheart". One of the kids recognized me right away. Even Cota. They knew my dog, too. They opened up to me, no problem. Once that damn orange shirted CeaseFire chick showed up, they closed like a clam - and ignored her message.

They even laughed about her invading us when she left to do her circle-jerk prayer.

I was there. I listened to them. That's what kids this age want. They want to talk to someone. Not be preached to.

CeaseFire needs to change their method, and how they operate in Rogers Park. Or they'll never get through to these kids.

Kids that see, "no hope."

3 comments:

jeffo said...

Resonate. Not resinate.

Good report Craig. Scary Stuff.

Superchubs said...

In this day and age of science, math and reason the fact that we take religious leaders seriously is mentally ill. Preachers and reverends and the like have no more credibility or skill in helping people that say, somebody who is an expert on Harry Potter or other fiction.
Whatever the Universe is really about, it's way cooler than guys walking through the desert and talking snakes or burning bushes.

Marie said...

What's a way for the individual to actually help these kids? I completely agree that a lot of the programs nieghborhoods do actually alienate the people who need help, but what's a way to actually make a difference?