Chicago area DJs make clarion call to stop the violence
As the Fourth of July approaches, they fear it’ll be another bloody weekend and stressed the need for days of peace instead of tears.
Flanked by images of children gunned down in Chicago in recent weeks, Chicago area disc jockeys called for at least seven days of peace and for everyone with information about the shootings to report what they know to law enforcement.
The ongoing gun violence has claimed the lives of several teens over the last two weeks, and most recently, a 3-year-old girl was shot in West Englewood. She was the fourth child age 3 or younger to be shot in the city in the last 10 days.
“These kids did not deserve to die,” DJ Phantom said at an anti-violence rally Wednesday in West Pullman. “We have to do something today. We have to put pressure on the street.”
The rally featured over a dozen DJs and community activists who came together to lend their voices against the increasing violence. As the Fourth of July weekend approaches, they fear it’ll be another bloody weekend and stressed the need for days of peace instead of tears.
“We’ve got too much blood on the streets,” crisis responder Andrew Holmes said. “If you can ride and bob your head to this music coming out from these DJs’ positive music, you can stop bobbing your head for a minute and reach over to your brother and tell him to put that damn gun down.”
“If we don’t protect our children then we’re nobody and we ain’t standing for nobody,” Holmes said. “Turn that shooter in and don’t let him sleep because our kids can’t breathe.”
DJ Casper, creator of the Cha Cha Slide, agreed.
“We have to stand up. We have to take charge,” DJ Casper said. “We have to turn in the killers. Forget about snitches and stitches. Let’s give our neighborhoods some stitches.”
Nicole Lilly Bridge, 46, who goes by She-J Nikki L’s, says her grandchildren or her 13-year-old daughter shouldn’t have to walk around their neighborhoods in fear of violence.
“I want them to be able to grow up and be able to go outside and play without without being struck by guns or someone trying to rob them or someone run them over,” Bridge said.
She said DJs can do more than just play good music and need to do a better job of letting their communities known that they’re available.
“We can let them know that we care and that we’re not just here to throw a party that you can come up to us and let us know. ‘Hey, I need help’,” Bridge said. “Don’t be afraid to talk, don’t be afraid to say what’s going on.”
Andre Hodges, aka DJ Dre, says he drove from Algonquin to join the rally.
“When I got the call to come down and support it was a no-brainer,” the 45-year-old said. “I wasn’t going to miss this for the world.”
News of the shootings made him hug his children even tighter, and he echoed Holmes’ message to the people responsible of the killings.
“They have to turn themselves in.” Hodges said. “You have to be accountable for taking the life of someone who never had a chance to see life. You’re hurting mothers, fathers, grandparents, siblings. It’s gotta stop.”