West Siders march in response to shooting of 8-year-old girl: ‘There’s hope’

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After a shooting at a West Side barbecue left an 8-year-old girl hurt over the weekend, anti-violence activists and residents responded by barbecuing and marching around the same block Tuesday afternoon in an effort to show hope remains despite the fear in the neighborhood.

About 75 people gathered at the corner of Augusta and Monticello in an effort to “bring peace and unity back to the community” two days after the girl was shot just a few hundred feet away.

Pastor Autry Phillips, of Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church, led the group in a prayer before the march.

“Your son, Jesus, did not have to die on the cross for us to live like this,” Phillips said. “He did not have to die for us to live like this.”

The group — chanting “Stop the violence!” — then marched north on Monticello, west on Thomas and south on Lawndale before returning to Augusta Boulevard for their own barbecue.

Shortly before 4 p.m. Sunday, someone in a blue Dodge Charger drove past a cookout in the 1000 block of North Monticello and opened fire, wounding the girl.

Anti-violence activists said the girl was home from the hospital by Tuesday, though her family did not attend the gathering.

Lori Lohar, the executive director of The Alliance of Local Service Organizations, said outreach events like Tuesday’s are a good way to illustrate a sense of community in response to violence, though more needs to be done.

“The fear is real,” Lohar said. “They have reason to be afraid if they can’t play on their own front porch. They have reason to be afraid if they can’t play on their own front lawn without risk of being shot. But there’s hope. There’s hope when people like us all come together and stand together.”

In response to Sunday’s shooting, outreach coordinators with the alliance have extended their shifts in the area in an effort to prevent further shootings.

The area that surrounds the 1000 block of North Monticello — Chicago police Beat 1112 — was one of the most violent in the city last year. According to city data, 15 other shootings have been recorded in the area so far in 2019.

A 2018 Chicago Sun-Times analysis found that the area is also the epicenter of city’s opioid crisis.

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