Chicago Group Pleads For Daytime Ceasefire From Gang Violence

In the heart of Rogers Park, Chicago, a local community organization, Native Sons, has made an audacious request to the city’s numerous gangs: refrain from gun-related violence during daylight hours, between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. This proposal, titled “The People’s Ordinance,” aims to safeguard ordinary citizens from being unintentionally caught in a deadly crossfire, especially during the active daytime hours.

Over recent months, the Windy City has witnessed a concerning surge in gang-related shootings, with rival factions frequently clashing throughout the day. Tatiana Atkins, co-founder of Native Sons, conveyed to CWBChicago the gravity of the situation and the organization’s hopes. “We have to start somewhere,” Atkins remarked. “Our goal is to approach our city’s gun violence problem strategically and not all at once. Things didn’t become this way overnight, and change won’t happen overnight.”

While the ordinance’s core plea revolves around the specified time frame for a ceasefire, it further implores Chicago’s residents to stop glorifying gang activities. “Under this ordinance, we ask that people stop associating with and glorifying ‘shooters,’ stop glorifying ‘switches,’ and stop wearing those ski masks everywhere which perpetuates you as some ‘opp,'” explained Atkins. By doing so, the proposal aims to reduce the blurred lines between ordinary citizens and those involved in the gang lifestyle, minimizing the risk posed to the average Chicagoan.

The tragic shooting death of a 5-year-old, Devin McGregor, was the catalytic event that birthed the Native Sons organization. After this heart-wrenching incident, Native Sons has proactively involved local youths in dance, sports programs, and music, striving to create a constructive environment amid the ever-present shadow of violence.

Johan Starkey, a Native Sons member, articulated the importance of keeping youngsters engaged, saying, “A lot of kids are just out in the park with nothing to do. They get bored.” Fellow member Jamal Washington added, “They don’t see enough positive role models in the neighborhood to give them a different outlook on life so they can make a change.”

The unique proposal by Native Sons has already garnered attention. Chicago Alderman Maria Hadden recently endorsed the ordinance in an email to constituents. Atkins, while championing the cause, clarified that they wouldn’t seek any official legislative support. Instead, she believes in the collective power of social media, the media, and the community. “We live in a trend society,” Atkins noted, emphasizing the role of collaborative support in ensuring the ordinance’s success.

But is this daytime ceasefire a viable solution? While some may argue for a complete end to violence or stricter gun regulations, Atkins offers a pragmatic approach. She said, “I’ve noticed that it’s a lot that are just like, ‘Why not just don’t shoot, period?’ It’s like, we’ve tried that. ‘Why not just listen to the gun laws?’ We’ve tried that.” Given the circumstances, Atkins and her group seem to opt for incremental progress over an all-or-nothing approach.