Chicagoans gather to pray for youth affected by violence

Chicagoans gather to pray for youth affected by violence

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

"I'm chasing after you, no matter what I have to do. I need you more and more," sang a church choir at a community festival in North Lawndale.

"We're tired of our children not being able to come out and play. This is what we used to do in our neighborhoods all the time. We could go out and play on the sidewalk without having to worry about a child being shot down or killed," said Floyd James Sr., Pastor of Greater Rock Mount Baptist Church.

Pastor James hosted seven west side churches at this community festival to pray for children impacted by Chicago's violence.

"We're burying too many of our young people. As a pastor, I have to go to too many funerals, cemeteries, too often, trying to put parents, grandchildren and children into the grave at a young age when they should be able to enjoy the life," said James.

North Lawndale was transformed to a children's safe haven with horse-back riding, bounce houses, basketball games and a backpack giveaway.

"This was a community fest and it was needed because there's been so much bad news, this was celebrating good news," said Wynona Redmond, a volunteer.

Even so, Olivia Johnson still expressed concerns about safety.

"It's like now you worry for your child to ride their bike down the street," said Johnson.

Since Friday at least four people were killed and nearly two dozen injured in shootings, including a 17 year old boy. Police say the teen had a semiautomatic pistol when he walked up to an 18-year-old man Friday night and shot him in the face. It happened in Little Village and someone who saw the shooting, shot the 17 year old - both men were taken to the hospital.

"Every week, every week there's shooting, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I'm tired… I'm scared, I'm scared and I'm angry because nobody is doing nothing," said Rosalina Alencastro, a Little Village resident.

Even Floyd admits, this is just a start.

"Safe Passage and all that is great but we have to have people who have minds that are concerned about one another," said Floyd.

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