We all know Memorial Day is a day to honor the soldiers who have lost their lives fighting for our rights and freedom. We also know Memorial Day weekend is the time we get that extra day off work, hang out with some family and friends at the barbecue, and eat some good cooking. At least that’s always the hope. Just any other holiday weekend in Chicago, violence has swept the city’s streets leaving more than 30 wounded and 5 dead. That's compared to seven killed and 36 wounded over the Memorial Day weekend last year, with hours still left within the holiday.
Chicago’s new elected mayor, Lori Lightfoot, hasn’t taken to the public to speak much on the violence the city is experiencing thus far, however she has stated the city would try to "remain diligent" in the early hours when violence tends to happen. Lightfoot, accompanied by CPD Supt., payed a visit to a crime scene where two men were involved in a drive-by shooting leaving one victim dead. Lori Lightfoot is also working on many anti-violence plans for the city.
Joe Juan Junior, a Chicago native and social media influence “DishinwitJoJo”, feels the problem isn’t exactly the people. “The only antidote to poverty and violence is opportunity... there aren’t many opportunities for people to advance in this city” Junior said.
Just over the weekend alone, a 25-year-old woman was shot in the neck while she was at a children’s play yard in the 2700 block of North Washtenaw Avenue around 11:30 p.m. Sunday. No one was taken into custody. Police suspect two deadly shootings that left three dead and four others injured in the early hours of Sunday morning, possibly connected. Also during the Memorial Day weekend, Chicago police said when they approached a man on the 1100 block of south Whipple around 10 p.m. Saturday he fled on foot and shot at the officers. After police fired back, the suspect was wounded and taken to a hospital in critical condition.
Da’Mia Williams is originally from Chicago but is now a student and business woman who relocated to Springfield. Williams finds the problems stemming from the lack of motivation, inspiration, and opportunity the city holds. Williams also breaks down the reason the heat is behind this kick of violence. “Honestly, it is the lack of opportunities. Research shows warmer weather makes people more violent because it is to the point where it’s unbearable. Our communities lack money and can’t go and enjoy vacations like others can, there is no outlet for our people in poverty once it is hot out. Everytime I visit back to Chicago, I get irritated when it’s hot out because it’s nothing you can do, but it is actually hotter in Springfield. I don’t get irritated and ready to fight because it’s a more calming environment and not as populated,” Williams said.
Though many say the opportunities are to blame, others disagree and say the reason behind the violence increase during Memorial Day weekend and heat increase is due to the lack of positive influences. Kelvana Fipps, a Chicago native and owner of WigMatix, feels the people of Chicago need better role models. “I don’t think it’s so much of lack of opportunity. I think it’s honestly just the lack of role models and the people they do look up to glorify the violence so they think it’s okay. If you think about it a lot of people can make opportunities for themselves. For instance, start a business, get a selling license, which is free in the state, you can start a business and be able to sell almost anything. But, the lack of guidance is what is all comes down to,” Fipps said.
Just this morning, 26-year-old man was shot in the chest while trying to buy merchandise in the 8700 block of South Mackinaw from someone he had contacted through an online retail marketplace. When the man arrived for the exchange, the offender "announced a robbery and shot the victim," authorities said. The man is in serious condition at University of Chicago Hospital.
Now though there are many different opinions and ideas as to what the issue is with Chicago’s violence, specifically the increase in violence during Memorial Day weekend and with the increase in heat, it takes a lot more than just one. It seems as if we’ll never know exactly what the problem is, which hurts us in finding the solution.