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CHICAGO – When Pastor Corey Brooks heard that the northern Chicago neighborhood of Bucktown was keen to hire a private security guard to patrol the streets, the news worried him.
He could not put his finger on why. He understood the neighborhood’s desire to do something to counter the rise in car capsules, home invasions and shootings. After all, he has been battling the same violence for the past 20 years in his South Side neighborhood in Woodlawn.
The pastor continued, “I was thinking that my mother is facing a really serious cancer situation. And I will never forget when they first found the cancer what they told her if they had been able to find it before or treated. with it before, they could have removed it and handled it. But because they did not, it spread, and it spreads all the time throughout her body. “
For the pastor, this was the exact analogy for the South Side. Cancer was “much like violence,” he said. If left untreated, it grows.
“The violence started in these pockets … these poor places in our community, like the South Side and West Side of Chicago,” the pastor said. “And because we did not handle it properly … because we did not come next and give it everything it needed to be wiped out in Chicago, you see it spreading.”
The reason this news worried the pastor from the beginning was that he had warned Chicagoans outside its own neighborhood about it for years. They ignored him, and now violence has upset them to the point that they do not believe the Chicago police are effective enough.
“What a sad comment. Here we are in America, here we are in Chicago, where we are already paying taxpayers’ money for security, for the police,” he said. “And now these citizens have to take extra funds, extra money … it will cost, just for this tiny little community, upwards of $ 190,000 or more a year.”
The pastor continued: “No neighborhood should be patrolled with extra security here in America. No neighborhood should go through all those things just to keep their people safe. But when you do not deal with the violence, when you do not deal with it as it should be dealt with, it “continues to spread. And not only is it spreading in Chicago, but it is spreading in St. Louis, Memphis, Philadelphia, New Orleans, all of these places that we see every single day.”
Fighting violence has been the pastor’s passion from the beginning. It is the very foundation of the town hall he will one day build because a child cannot grow and thrive in a violent neighborhood. The neighbors that make up Bucktown may be able to afford private security, but fail to address the root causes of the problem.
The pastor said he prays that these people will “try to do something about the violence, to try to intervene in people’s lives before embarking on a path of destruction.”
For more information, please visit Project HOOD.
Eli Steele is a documentary filmmaker and author. His latest film is “What Killed Michael Brown?” Twitter: @Hebro_Steele.
Camera by Terrell Allen.