‘Reality of peace begins with every single one of us’

By Joyce Duriga | Editor
Sunday, June 25, 2017

Peace Starts Here march and rally

On June 16, 2017, St. Sabina Church held its Peace Starts Here rally and march. It’s the first of the parish’s annual summer marches to promote peace in the neighborhood.
Father Michael Pfleger and those participating in a June 16 Peace Starts Here march at St. Sabina Church make the peace sign. Cardinal Cupich joined the group for its annual kick-off event for peace. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Members of St. Sabina's Selah youth choir perform before the rally. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Members of the parish's Purpose Over Pain group for parents who've lost children to gun violence prepare to read the names of those killed this year. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Terrez Bosley holds a photo of his brother Terrell Bosley, who was a victim of gun violence in 2006, as the names of every person under the age of 21 killed since June 16, 2016 are read aloud. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Cardinal Cupich participated in the annual end of the school year/ kick-off event for a summer of peace at St. Sabina Church in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood in Chicago on June 16. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Following the rally, people marched through the streets of Auburn Gresham. . (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)

Hours before Cardinal Cupich joined Father Michael Pfleger and hundreds of others in a peace march in the city’s Auburn Gresham neighborhood, two girls, ages 7 and 13, were shot on a school playground on the South Side. Both were released from the hospital that evening.

Since Jan. 1, more than 1,600 people have been shot in Chicago and of that number 279 have died, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

“This is insanity and will not be tolerated in Chicago. We’re not going to allow this to continue in Chicago,” Father Michael Pfleger told those gathered for the Peace Starts Here rally and march on June 16 at St. Sabina Church, 1210 W. 78th Place. It’s the first of the parish’s annual summer marches to promote peace in the neighborhood.

“Whether this summer is a summer of fun and enjoyment and great memories and great experiences or whether it’s going to be a time of tears and fear and violence, that depends on every single one of us,” St. Sabina’s senior pastor said.

All people living in the Chicago area must fight for peace in the community by working for justice and change.

“But while we fight for an equal playing field and the end of the tale of two cities in Chicago, we must also decide as a community that the reality of peace begins with every single one of us,” Pfleger said. “Nobody gets a pass.”

Cardinal Cupich joined in the rally and march.

“Tonight we want to recommit ourselves to what many of us began as you walked with me in the stations of the cross Walk for Peace on Good Friday,” the cardinal said. “At that time we pledged to work together so young people will turn away from violence and use their energy, their talents and their skills in positive and life-giving ways.”

On Good Friday, the people joined the cardinal in pledging to work with victims’ families, police and first responders.

“We must make it clear to all, but especially our young people, that violence isn’t the solution. Violence is never acceptable. Violence is never worth it,” he said. “But we also have to make it clear that we are not going to tolerate injustice.”

In a moving moment during the rally, families of gun violence victims read the names of those under age 21 killed since June 16, 2016.

Jackie Smith, a St. Sabina parishioner, attended the march to support her church and the cause.

“I’m against all of the crime and the shooting,” she said. “We need to come together and stop the violence.”

Chatham resident Thel Davis Jr. also came out to stand for an end to the violence.

“It hasn’t affected me and my family personally but it could,” said Davis.

He hoped the march would show the news media and people in other communities that “we’re just like them and we care.”

“We want to live peaceably like everybody else,” Davis said. “We’re in a segregated area where crime is happening but there are other people here too and we do care. We care about everybody.”


  • violence
  • st. sabina
  • cupich
  • pfleger
  • march

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