A Chicago activist group is encouraging men to come together to promote peace in Black neighborhoods.
New Era Chicago was inspired to patrol the city’s streets in an effort to address the ongoing gun epidemic. In a profile with CBS Chicago, leader Taji Gaines says his group is calling on volunteers to spread peace, protection and unity.
“Men are supposed to be protectors and providers. So along with protecting for your own, you have to provide for your village as well.”
The group — started Dec. 6, 2015 — has patrolled volatile areas and schools to keep young children from being the next victims of senseless gun violence. According to the Chicago Tribune‘s “Crime in Chicagoland” project, there have been 3,516 shooting victims since January, and that number will likely increase by year’s end.
New Era Chicago volunteers patrol areas after a shooting has occurred. In the report, activists carried around a list of children and teenagers who have lost their lives to gun violence.
“[We] make sure our children have safe ways to school, that our women can get to the buses and cars and things like that without the fear of being raped,” volunteer Ronnie Hatcher says. “It’s on all men in the community to be a part of securing the village because we all have a vested interest in it. Somebody has to do it. And we’re going to lead by example.”