Sneed exclusive: Cardinal seeking new ways to fight gun violence

Cardinal Blase Cupich is looking for new ways to stem gun violence.| Rich Hein/Sun-Times

Praise be!

Sneed hears Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, who has likened the city’s gun violence to the Great Chicago Fire, has put together a fire brigade.

And he hopes to set the bells ringing before Easter.

• Translation: In an effort to stem the violence stigmatizing Chicago throughout the world, Sneed is told, the cardinal ordered an inventory on all archdiocesan programs (84) dealing with strengthening families to streamline their effectiveness in dealing with violence; summoned a blue-ribbon committee of advisers to deal with stemming violence; and hopes to integrate their work with other agencies.

• The team: It’s comprised of Chicago’s Catholic university heads; Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s former Chief of Staff Eileen Mitchell; Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke; Father David Jones, pastor of St. Benedict The African East Catholic Church in the violence-scarred East Englewood neighborhood; Father Scott Donahue of Mercy Home For Boys & Girls; the Rev. Michael Pfleger of Saint Sabina Church; and Msgr. Michael Boland from Catholic Charities.


Sneed also hears Cupich will encourage all Catholic parishes on Easter weekend to pray for all victims of the city’s violence and their families.

A Copeland pirouette . . . 

Misty got misty.

And I’m so glad I was there to see it.

Misty Copeland, the nation’s first African-American female principal dancer with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre, stole the show at the Union League Club on Thursday afternoon.

And she was sitting down.

In town to pitch her new book, “Ballerina Body,” Copeland was asked how she felt about her revered role in the ballet world by the Joffrey Ballet’s Erica Edwards.

Copeland wept.

“It’s insane,” she said.

“I feel like forever crying about the honor.

“I want people to understand how it is such an honor to stand on the shoulder of such amazing women,” said Copeland, who had just praised an African-American ballerina from the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in Las Vegas, “who was chased out of the company by the Ku Klux Klan.”

Then Edwards, who had been a Joffrey ballet dancer for 15 years, wept, and out came the Kleenex.

An advocate of the Boys and Girls Club, “where I went as a child to stay safe and began my journey into the world of ballet when I was 13 years old,” Copeland stressed how ballet class is a ritual that frees the mind while living in a chaotic world.

“I was a young introvert who used to hide behind my siblings, nervous and anxious,” said Copeland, one of six children living in a motel room with her single mother. “I was struggling to survive that life. Ballet changed my world.”

When asked if her famous feet ever got a pedicure, she chuckled.

”NO! To take care of your feet as a ballet dancer you have to build up your armor. If you permit someone to file it off, they can take off 20 years of your armor!”

“We salute our colleague Misty Copeland for her commitment to the next generation,” said Greg Cameron, the Joffrey’s executive director, following a standing ovation for the prima ballerina.

“Under the artistic leadership of Ashley Wheater, we continue to honor Robert Joffrey’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion.”

Sneedlings . . .

Congratulations to Michael Axelrod and wife, Liz, on the birth of their son, Chaden. Grandpa David Axelrod and Grandma Susan are over the moon! . . . Happy 20th wedding anniversary on Tuesday to attorney Joel Brodsky and his wife, Elizabeth. . . . I spy: Rock star Jon Bon Jovi spotted having dinner at Rosebud on Rush on Thursday night with Rosebud Founder Alex Dana. Bon Jovi is in town for the “This House Is Not For Sale” tour at the United Center on Sunday. . . . Actor Burt Young, former MLB players Steve Carlton and Dennis Eckersley and former NFL stars Nolan Cromwell and Charlie Joiner dining at Gibsons in Rosemont last Friday after the Fanatic Sports Spectacular at the Stephens Convention Center. . . . Saturday’s birthdays: Aretha Franklin, 75; Elton John, 70, and Sarah Jessica Parker, 52. . . . Sunday’s birthdays: Diana Ross, 73; Von Miller, 28, and Steven Tyler, 69.

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