The city of Chicago is in crisis, as gun violence continues to claim the lives of several victims. As Hip-Hop Wired previously reported, murder rates have increased in the city by 38 percent, and with countless new reports of shooting deaths, local leaders are calling on the help of the Nation of Islam and Mr. Louis Farrakhan to spread the word of peace.
Tio Hardiman, director of CeaseFire Illinois—an organization aimed at violence prevention—revealed to News One that he has been in contact with Farrakhan for the forthcoming “peace summit,” to be held at Mosque Maryam. “African American youth are crying out for help in the form of violence,” Hardiman said. “They don't know how to settle disputes. The average coward can shoot an unarmed person. Cowards who catch someone off guard are doing most of the killing. They just shoot someone in the head and keep going. They don't care who gets caught in the crossfire. We have to change that mind-set.”
Last year, 243 people were shot and killed in Chicago, and with numbers already hovering above 300 fatalities seven months into 2012, the city may surpass 2011 figures.
Although the event will be held in a Muslim mosque Hardiman made it clear that the summit will not revolve around religion. “No one is trying to get anyone to join the Nation of Islam. We just want to educate them to stop the killing. There is no better place to do this than Mosque Maryam.”
Farrakhan has never wavered in his dedication to the cause, taking to the streets in July visiting communities affected by the violence. Although he is the leader of the NOI, which is founded on the pillars of Islam, his efforts have garnered support from Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who is Jewish. “We have to bring attention to the violence in Chicago,” Hardiman added. “When the Colorado massacre took place, it rocked the nation for one day, but homicides in Chicago rock families every day. There seems to be no end to the madness. We can't just sit back and hope that it gets better. We have to act until it gets better.”
On Wednesday (Aug. 1), Hardiman held a vigil at a park on the city's West Side, for all the victims killed in the city. He has yet to announce an official date, but is aiming to hold the summit near Labor Day.
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Photo: Chicago Tribune