After a rash of shootings, including one on Sunday that left two dead and eight injured, residents in the Brighton Park neighborhood are holding a mass and peace march on Wednesday night.
Immaculate Conception Church will be the meeting place for the march, with the mass beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday night. There, residents will seek to strengthen their resolve in the face of the increased violence in the neighborhood, and to give hope to teenagers looking for solace in the wake of the shootings.
“There is a sense of fear. You can feel it,” parishioner Juan Miguel Alvarez said. “But I think beyond the fear there’s an inspiring desire to say ‘but now what?’ They’re saying they’re scared, but that they want to do something about it.”
In addition to Sunday’s shooting, the neighborhood is less than a mile from the scene of last week’s shooting of two Chicago police officers. With all of the violence, Father Manuel Dorantes is challenging his parishioners to put their faith into action.
“It is a war zone,” he said. “We’re not going to sit here and just say our prayers and not allow the reality of the violence and bloodshed not to affect us. It does affect us.”
The march will proceed from the church to the site of Sunday’s shooting, and thanks to donations of food and coffee from area residents, a reception will be held after the march to help foster dialogue in the neighborhood and in the community. Plans are also in place to bless homes in the community as residents search for answers to the recent rise in violence.