ENGLEWOOD — Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago, led more than 1,500 people on a walk for peace through Englewood Friday, urging society not to ignore those neighborhoods wracked with violence and touting "sensible gun policy."
The walk kicked off on Good Friday at 10:30 a.m. at 66th St. and Stewart Ave. Participants included community leaders such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson of the Rainbow Push Coalition, Mark Allen of Black Wall Street and others. Catholic parishioners, police officers, health professionals and fire officials also took part.
The group traced the Stations of the Cross and paused along the way to read the names of lives lost to violence in Chicago since January of this year. They prayed along 68th at Stewart and at Green Street, and 63rd and Parnell Avenue.
Cupich said that people came together in a peaceful way to share their wish that the violence has to end. He said that the solution to the problem lies within each person.
“It lies within us to care about opportunities for people who grow up in an environment of hopelessness, to change that situation, but also to realize that the presence of so many guns is something that can’t remain unchecked,” he said. “We have to look for a way in which there’s sensible gun policy.”
The Rev. Michael Pfleger, who pastors St. Sabina Church, 1210 W. 78th Pl., told DNAinfo that he hopes the event got the attention of not just those who live in the community, but everywhere.
"I hope that people will realize the seriousness of this,” he said. “All those names, they’re not just names. These are babies, real lives, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends who are devastated and who will never be the same.”
“I hope they realize that we are losing a whole generation of people,” Pfleger said.
He also said he wants people to think of the next steps.
“Faith without works is dead,” he said, adding that the faithful can’t just walk and pray.
“Today we remembered the death of these children and the crucifixion of Christ...resurrection is us rising up to do something,” he said.
Writing in the Tribune earlier this month Cupich said the solution is beyond gun control.
"But gun legislation will not address the root of the problem," he said. "Study after study shows that we need to change the conditions that make violence common.
"That means strengthening families, helping mothers and fathers be the parents they need to be, providing safe places for kids to learn and play after school, helping them resolve conflict peacefully, providing affordable child care, offering jobs with just wages, maintaining quality schools and rehabilitating those who have stumbled," Cupich wrote.