After a particularly violent weekend, Rev. Michael Pfleger on Monday called for public officials to fight gun violence with the same zeal, urgency and resources they’ve used to fight the coronavirus.
“We want the city, the county and the state to be just as aggressive with the violence as they’ve been with COVID-19, using millions of dollars of resources,” Pfleger Monday following a news conference outside St. Sabina Church in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood that was cut short by rain.
Pfleger, who is pastor of the Catholic church, called for the heads of local and state government to ”get in a damn room, lock the door and figure this s--- out.”
Pfleger, who was joined Monday by dozens of supporters — including relatives of people slain by gun violence — said a march was being organized for a future date to put pressure on officials to make change, but specifics had not been hammered out.
Arne Duncan, who served as Education Secretary under former President Barack Obama, was at St. Sabina Monday to lend support.
“It was a horrific weekend, and we’ve all got to do better together,” said Duncan, who now heads up Chicago CRED, a nonprofit aimed at providing Chicago’s youth with guidance and opportunities to help reduce gun violence.
“People can’t normalize this and people can’t start to accept it; we’ve got to challenge it every day,” he said.
State Sen. Jacqueline Collins spoke at the gathering and called on Pritzker to do more to help Black people in Illinois.
“The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus is demanding that Gov. Pritzker establish an African American Rapid Relief Task Force to provide relief and funding with a focus on all the challenges facing all of the black communities in Illinois,” she said.
“A resourced community is a safe community. What we see today is a lack of investment and resources coming into this community, although we see an influx of guns and drugs,” she said.