Residents gather to stop violence, restore neighborhoods

Artists, community activists and residents gathered today in Rogers Park, on Chicago’s far North side, searching for concrete tools to stop youth and gang violence, and begin the work of restoring neighborhoods and hope. 900poundgorilla sat down with organizers and activists ahead of a workshop that identified root causes of violence and put workable solutions to paper.20130320_184351

Among the 30 or so in attendance were artists and actors from the Stone Soup Theater Project. Their current play, titled “Tamer of Horses,” deals with youth and gang violence. The play runs from April 5th-May 4th at the Senn High school theater, 5900 N. Glenwood in Chiacgo.20130320_191112

opening the workshop was Michaela Mills, with the Violence Prevention Coalition, which was begun in 2012. VPC partnered with Cease Fire, an effort by former gang members to intervene and de-escalate in violence. VCP and Cease Fire spearheaded the “Bring on the Lights” effort at several north side parks to deter crime and violence.

Michaela Mills

Michaela Mills

“We want lights, because we want a safe environment,” Mills told the audience.

There was an undeniable determination represented in this gathering. Many forwarded the sentiments of neighbors and friends who shared that determination. Though many of the same issues like jobs, abandoned buildings, and after school initiatives were a recurring theme, there was one issue that shadowed the conversations.20130320_190335

900poundgorilla spent time in Bosnia during the bloody civil war there, and is regularly working in some of the worst violence scarred neighborhoods on Chicago’s south side. the issue of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder may be at the heart of much of the ongoing violence in the city. My first novel “Broken, One soldier’s unexpected journey home,” dealth with PTSD, and was recommended by by the National Association of Mental health Institutes(NAMI).

Chris Patterson works with one of the break-out groups on solutions.

Chris Patterson works with one of the break-out groups on solutions.

I sat down Chris Patterson, organizer of the Rogers Park Violence Coalition. His compelling and dramatic story will be featured soon here and on the radio show. Stay tuned…

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About 900poundgorilla

W.C. Turck is a Chicago playwright and the author of four widely acclaimed books.His latest is "The Last Man," a prophetic novel of a world ruled by a single corporation. His first novel, "Broken: One Soldier's Unexpected Journey Home," was reccommended by the National Association of Mental Health Institutes. His 2009 Memoir, "Everything for Love" chronicled the genocide in Bosnia and the siege of Sarajevo. His third book "Burn Down the Sky" is published exclusively on Amazon Kindle. It was in Sarajevo at the height of the siege where he met and married his wife, writer and Artist Ana Turck. FOX NEWS, ABC, CBS News, the Chicago Tribune and The Joliet Herald covered their reunion after the war. He helped organized relief into Rwanda during the 1994 genocide. Turck has been a guest on WMAQ-TV, WLS in Chicago, WCPT, WBBM radio, National Public Radio, Best Of the Left and the Thom Hartmann show. He has spoken frequently on Human Rights, Genocide and Nationalism. In 2011, his play in support of the Occupy Movement, "Occupy My Heart-a revolutionary Christmas Carol" recieved national media attention and filled theaters to capacity across Chicago. He remains an activist to the cause of human rights and international peace. View all posts by 900poundgorilla

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