The pastor of King International Ministries is calling for an end to violence in Chicago's downtown area and across the city by staging a 40-day strike in front of a Loop institution.
"We can’t live like this anymore," said Pastor Anthony Williams. "I refuse to live like this anymore."
Pastor Williams plans to go on a tent and hunger strike for 40 days in front of the Chicago Theater on State Street in an effort to draw attention to the violence after several recent attacks downtown, including the beating of a young man.
"Nobody in their sane mind accepts this type of behavior," he said. "We are insane if we continue accept this type of behavior."
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Pastor Williams wants Gov. JB Pritzker and President Joe Biden to take action now.
"We are sincere and I’m sincere, and it breaks my heart, this town that I was nurtured in Chicago where everybody is afraid for their lives," he said.
Williams went on a similar strike last year, calling on the governor to declare violence a public health crisis. Pritzker signed that bill into law this April, and now Williams said he wants to see enforcement.
"We can’t dance our way out of this. We can’t march our way out of this. We got to do it with intelligent public policy," Williams said.
So far this year, metrics show Chicago has seen an increase in murders, shootings, sexual assaults and thefts compared to last year. Robberies are down citywide, but data shows more cases are being reported in the 1st and 18th districts in the last 28 days, including the South Loop, River North and the Gold Coast.
"This is unacceptable behavior," Williams said. "You’re not safe downtown, you’re not safe on the Magnificent Mile, you’re not safe in the Gold Coast. Who wants to live like this?"
While people who live or work downtown told NBC Chicago they feel relatively safe, they said you can never be too careful.
“It’s just the world that we live in things happen,” said Colavito McGhee.
“I can’t speak for everybody else, but I feel safe,” said Eduardo Ortiz Vijia.
“I think I’m always aware when I’m out and about I try to be aware of what’s going on around me,” said Amy Horton.
As for Pastor Williams, he plans to start his 40-day strike on Monday.