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“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.

MASK is calling for all mothers and men to unify, no matter their differences whether it be race, religion or background in order to make a change within the city.

MASK coordinates community patrols around the city in order to create a safer environment for their children.

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M.A.S.K. also coordinates the Abel Project, where trees are planted in memory of children and other victims of street violence. The leaves of the tree will be red to signify the blood that was shed by the victim.

“Tu b’ Shevat,” a Jewish holiday inspired this project. The holiday celebrates the bloom of trees, signaling that the earth has awoken.

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Weekly planning meetings are held on Wednesday nights from 7-8:30 by M.A.S.K.. In addition, a support group that is held on Tuesday nights called “Shedding Our Grief.”

M.A.S.K. has proven to be successful. This video produced by WBEZ shows how there were zero shootings on a block in Englewood because of what M.A.S.K. did.

CALL TO ACTION:

M.A.S.K. runs off of donations and volunteers. If you would like to donate or volunteer, visit their website for more information.

All photos are from getbehindthemask.org