A wall of tall glass windows stands out on Madison Street in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago. A deviation from the down brick buildings, large orange letters appear on the bottom right side – “The Peace Corner Youth Center” it reads.
Nestled in the west side of Chicago, The Peace Corner is open on the weekdays from 10 am to 6:30 pm. The Peace Corner provides a variety of services to the public— all free of charge.
During the morning and the early afternoon, the organization opens it’s facilities to help prepare young adults for careers. According to their website, “[they] offer assistance in computer literacy, job preparation seminars and referrals to educational resources.”
“Everybody is starting to realize that gun violence is not just a south side problem. It’s not just a Chicago problem. It’s an American problem,” Tamar Manasseh, Founder of Mask,
MASK is a grass roots organization that is working to end gun violence in Chicago. MASK does this by acting as a supplemental force along with police officers to patrol the streets. They do not do so with guns or violence, instead with hugs and kindness. They support stricter gun control though believe that true change is up to them.
“Cure Violence stops the spread of violence in communities by using the methods and strategies associated with disease control – detecting and interrupting conflicts, identifying and treating the highest risk individuals, and changing social norms – resulting reductions in violence of 40% to 70%.” – Cure Violence, Website
To understand the work that Cure Violence does, it is important to understand their perspective of violence being a ‘Health Issue.’
“BUILD’s mission is to engage at-risk youth in the schools and on the streets, so they can realize their educational and career potential and contribute to the stability, safety and well being of our communities.”– BUILD Chicago’s Website
BUILD (Broader Urban Involvement & Leadership Development ) Chicago is located in Chicago’s western neighborhoods (Austin, Humboldt Park, Hermosa, West Town) and Southern neighborhoods (Fuller Park, Brozeville). BUILD Chicago focuses on youth development within these communities.
Chicago and all of its glory can feel overwhelming sometimes. There’s so much going on, there are so many people going so many places and the areas in need of improvement are never ending. The problems that plague this great city may seem far too advanced and complicated for any one person to solve.
Because of this, it becomes so easy to throw our hands in the air, denying responsibility. After all, ‘what can we do?’ So we move on, ignore the issue and focus on other things. Knowing what is going on around us but feeling helpless to change anything.