BRONZEVILLE — In a little more than two weeks, Bronzeville native Demetrius Nash, who goes by DNash, will travel to Washington, D.C., on foot.
He said he wants to bring awareness to Chicago’s gun violence and the need for more resources and programs for children in the inner city. Nash hopes to meet with the Congressional Black Caucus and Illinois congressmen when he arrives.
“I was inspired by a book written by Nelson Mandela, 'A Long Walk to Freedom,' in which he writes about his 27 years of imprisonment,” he said.
Nash, who was incarcerated at 26 years old for drug trafficking, said he spent a lot of time thinking about how he contributed to the city’s problems and how he’s ready to be a part of the solution. The idea to walk came from God, he said.
“When I used to be incarcerated, I would fast and pray on Saturdays,” he said. “I got off federal probation May 24 of this year, so that was a Wednesday.
“I prayed that Saturday and asked God what was next for me. After 12 years of bondage I'm finally free,” Nash said. “I woke up Sunday, tapped my girlfriend and said, ‘Babe, I'm going to walk to Washington, D.C.”
Since being out of prison, he’s worked as a personal trainer and he now works in construction. He’s been training for his walk since July 1.
He’s leaving Aug. 4. and will walk with three other Chicagoans.
Nash said he’s determined to help save the city and needs everyone’s help. He’s trying to raise $10,000 through GoFundMe. People can help other ways as well, he said. He’s in need of resources and connections throughout the journey. He plans to walk 10 hours a day and hopes to arrive at his destination in about 22 days, he said.
Nash also founded Replace Guns With Hammers as an initiative that offers training in the trades and an opportunity for young people to build relationships with mentors who change their lives.