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The Blood cries out in the streets of Chicago

by Sr. Donna Liette, CPPS

I minister as the Family Forward Program coordinator at the Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation on Chicago’s South Side. Here, Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Sisters of the Precious Blood, and dedicated lay staff and volunteers walk alongside community members on their journeys of day-to-day life.

A “perfect storm” of poverty, drugs and economic underinvestment creates an environment where violence can flourish. This is exacerbated by increasingly easy access to guns. Between Jan. 1 and April 21 this year alone, there have been 73 victims of fatal and nonfatal shootings in our area of Back of the Yards/New City, Englewood and West Englewood.

As I write this article, the reality of gun violence is raw and painful! Just last night in our community, Back of the Yards, a mass shooting occurred at a child’s Confirmation celebration party.

In a drive-by shooting, a 9-year-old child was killed and both of her parents suffered gunshot wounds; at least 10 other people were injured, including a 1-year-old and a 7-year-old. As our PBMR family gathered in support of one another in the wake of this shooting, we sat together in silence, reflecting, crying, caring that another life had been lost to gun violence.

Another family now grieves. Another spot is stained by precious blood.

Later, we joined family and friends in a balloon release for one of our youth, “Big Mike,” who was shot several weeks ago and later died from his injuries.

The stories go on and on as guns become more readily available and a community is broken by loss, trauma and fear. Who will be next?

Here at PBMR, we experience hope, loss, anger, despair, love, healing and togetherness daily. As Precious Blood women and men, along with our PBMR family, we remain committed to responding to the “Cry of the Blood” as we stand as witnesses to the horrors of gun violence — and work together to bring peace and love to the brokenhearted.

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