Solidarity Event Brings South Side Alderman Together To Call Attention To Community Needs, Cleanup Efforts And Ending Senseless Gun Violence

Brandon Ison
July 11, 2020 - 3:27 pm
CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- South Side community activists and public officials gathered in different locations for a day of service and unity Saturday to clean up the neighborhood and bring attention to local businesses and community needs, standing in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
Pastor Thomas Barclay from the Progressive Beulah Pentecostal Church kicked off the day of solidarity, calling on members to unify the neighborhood, promote Black Lives Matter and continue the fight to end senseless gun violence. 
There was a moment of silence for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the amount of time George Floyd begged for his life while an officer pinned him to the ground with his knee.
21st Ward Alderman Howard Brookins hosted an event at 87th and Lafayette in Chatham along with other elected officials and community leaders to encourage ongoing clean-up efforts in the area.
Organizer Kweli Kwaza, who was at the same event, said there is much love on the South Side and continued a call for a stop to the violence.
"We want everyone to understand we love our community and we love the people in our community, so all the nonsense needs to stop," Kwaza said. "After the rioting and looting, some people thought that we don't love our community. We do love our community. We love where we live and we appreciate where we live."
Officials onsite pleaded with the community to fill out census information and for all Chicago residents to consider taking a trip to the South Side to experience some of the local businesses.
Census signs
Community members hold census signs at the Day of Solidarity event on the South Side. (Brandon Ison/WBBM)
17th Ward Alderman David Moore expressed the importance of residents participating in the census in order to matter to the city and show the greater community that investing in the South Side is worth it. 
"We need to make sure businesses in our community are hiring our contractors and the residents from our community and so all that encompasses the importance of Black Lives Matter," Moore said. 
15th Ward Alderman Raymond Lopez, who also represents parts of the South Side, said the bringing attention to South Side businesses is not just a one-time thing. He said more jobs in the area can break the cycle of violence. 
"I represent a very diverse ward," Lopez said. "This movement is about making sure all communities understand the value of the black community. (The solidarity event) is not a singular event or a response to an even. It should be a part of our culture and who we are as a city."

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