Mayor Rahm Emanuel spoke passionately against gun violence Monday night after eight people were killed and nearly 40 — including a number of children — were wounded in weekend gunfire.
“These are our children. They’re full of hope and optimism,” Emanuel told a crowd gathered in the gymnasium next to St. Sabina Church, 1210 W. 78th Place. “The worst thing that should happen is that you fall off your bike, you get a knee scraped. Kids are immune now to the sound of gunfire.”
Emanuel made his comments flanked by family members of people killed by gunfire, several of whom he personally phoned after the deaths to express condolences.
“I am done making these phone calls. I have no words to say anymore,” he said before a slew of TV cameras, including one from CNN.
“Yes it’s going to get warm, but values are not about seasons,” Emanuel said, addressing the rash of violence that has accompanied warmer weather. “They don’t come only in the summer. The values that we teach our children when we hold them and read to them are timeless. They’re about right and wrong. They’re about knowing good from bad. They serve as your compass as your guide.”
Emanuel urged people to stand together against violence.
“This is our home. These streets don’t belong to the gang-bangers,” he said as the Rev. Michael Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina, stood nearby, echoing each sentiment with a “Yes!”
“Us together are bigger than anybody else driving around in a car waving a gun. They aren’t big,” Emanuel said.
Before Emanuel spoke, he stood behind Tymeka Woods and placed a hand of support on her back as she spoke about the shooting death of her 16-year-old son, Michael Flournoy, a Simeon High School football player who was killed earlier this month.
“On April 5th my son became a sacrifice for this city that has become heartless,” Woods said.
“When are we going to stand up and say enough is enough? When are we going to be stand behind [the children] so they won’t be fearful to turn in the ones who are doing the things they are doing to these young children?”