AUBURN GRESHAM — On Tuesday alone, one person was killed and at least two people were wounded in shootings in Chicago. But the Rev. Michael Pfleger is hoping Wednesday will be different.
The outspoken priest is calling for no shootings Wednesday as the nation celebrates the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin L. King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech and the March on Washington.
"OK, We are looking for zero shootings today as a way to celebrate the anniversary of Dr. King's March on Washington. But we all know that's not going to happen," Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina Church, wrote Wednesday on Facebook.
"But we must lift it up in prayer, go outside on our blocks, talk to our youth, discuss it at home, work and school, reach out to our neighbors, and talk about it to every person you speak with today. Let's create an atmosphere of peace and fellowship wherever we are today," he said.
Before he watches President Barack Obama's speech in Washington Wednesday, Pfleger told DNAinfo he will speak to students at St. Sabina Academy about the 1964 Noble Peace Prize winner.
And should no shootings occur, the outspoken community activist said he would be more grateful than surprised.
"If we wait for anniversaries to honor the works of Dr. King, then we are doing nothing more than pulling the book off the history shelf, dusting it off to read, and then putting it back on the shelf when we are done," Pfleger said. "Let's not read the cover of the book because it is the right thing to do. Instead, we should be reading the book over and over again until we fully understand what it is about."
While he never met King, Pfleger said the reverend changed him forever and prompted him to enter the priesthood.
"I was 16 when I saw Dr. King for the first time. I rode my bike with some friends to Marquette Park where Dr. King was marching. I listened to what he said and watched how he carried himself and how he preached about living a nonviolent life," recalled Pfleger. "From that point, I became obsessed with his work."
Education, poverty and housing were the three things King spoke about the most during his lifetime, Pfleger said.
"And wouldn't you know it, those three things remain the same today," added Pfleger. "More poverty exist today than ever, and if Dr. King was alive he would not approve of it."