Jackson, Pfleger sound alarm on curbing gun violence in the city: ‘All of us have to be part of this’
After Chicago’s most violent weekend of 2022, Rev. Michael Pfleger said he hopes it will be a wake-up call before summer. “What are we doing before we need to call 911?” he asked.
The Rev. Michael Pfleger joined The Rev. Jesse Jackson and other community leaders Wednesday to try to mobilize the city against gun violence after last weekend’s surge in shootings.
“What’s our plan?” asked Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina church, at Calahan Funeral Home on Wednesday. Pfleger wore a shirt with the words “#EndGunViolence” across the front.
After seven people were killed and 37 injured in shootings as temperatures rose last weekend — making it Chicago’s most violent weekend of 2022 — Pfleger said he hopes it will be a wake-up call before summer.
Preventative measures are key, he said, and action is needed now — not in July or August.
“What are we doing before we need to call 911?” Pfleger asked. “We’ve already lost the battle if we are having to call 911.”
In anticipation of summer, Chicago Police Supt. David Brown announced earlier this month that the department is prioritizing and expanding its beat policing efforts, focusing on 55 beats in particularly violent areas. Mayor Lori Lightfoot proposed a similar plan in 2020, to give extra resources to 15 especially dangerous parts of Chicago.
The leaders Wednesday urged collaboration throughout communities in the city — including religious groups, families, educators, law enforcement and business leaders.
“If we don’t have a plan, then we are co-conspirators of the violence,” Pfleger said. “All of us have to be part of this.”
Jackson said this isn’t a local problem but a global one — in Russia, in Ukraine, in cities across the United States. The leaders emphasized the need for Chicago to be a leader of change.
“This is our community, but it’s also much more than that,” Jackson said.