|RIVERDALE, Ill. (October 27, 2007) –Father Michael Pfleger, pastor of the Faith Community of St. Sabina, today led a march and rally of neighbors opposing gun violence at the notorious weapons outlet, Chuck’s Gun Shop, 14310 S. Indiana Ave. in Riverdale. |
“Chuck’s is closed today,? Fr. Pfleger said during the pre-march rally at Shekinah Chapel Church, 13800 S. Indiana, Riverdale. “If you aren’t doing anything wrong, then why are you closed when you know we are coming around??
Shekinah Pastor Yehiel Curry said he had received calls from locals warning him not to get involved in this protest. But, he said, as the son of a father who died as a result of gun violence, it would take more than phone calls and empty threats to deter him.
Joining Fr. Pfleger and Rev. Curry was a busload of Rainbow PUSH Coalition supporters, including Tommy Bennett, National Director of Community Services and Carolyn Wiggins, National Director of Membership and Organizational Development.
“This is what we stand for,? Wiggins said. “We are going to continue to get other churches and community organizations involved when it comes to the life and death of our children.?
Fr. Pfleger said he had received a letter from the village of Riverdale saying that he would be charged a minimum of $2500 for leading today’s march. “Luckily, before I left school I read the Constitution,? he said. “The First Amendment says we have a right to peaceful assembly. People are fighting for rights in Iraq; you can be sure that I am going to continue to fight for our rights in the United States.?
Last spring Fr. Pfleger and Rev. Jesse Jackson, founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, teamed in an ongoing crusade against gun violence after nearly 40 Chicago Public School students were shot and killed during the year.
With the support of the Brady Campaign Against Gun Violence, the Million Moms March and many others, a national day of protest was held last August 28. Since then, gun violence against young people has included the September shooting of three freshman on the campus of Delaware State University in late September; the suicide of a 14-year-old who shot four people at Success Tech Academy in Cleveland, Ohio, before killing himself, and several Chicago cases, including the killings of 10-year-old Arthur Jones and 14-year-old Samuel Benavente.
Rev. Jackson and Fr. Pfleger where arrested and charged with trespassing at Chuck’s Gun Shop during a protest against gun violence in July. The charges were dropped earlier this month. Rev. Jackson did not attend today’s event because he is in Atlanta for the 11th Annual Peachtree Street Project Conference, hosted by the Rainbow PUSH Coalition and Citizenship Education Fund.
The Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a progressive organization protecting, defending and expanding civil rights to improve economic and educational opportunity. The organization is headquartered at 930 E. 50th St. in Chicago. To learn more, please visit www.rainbowpush.org, or telephone (773) 373-3366. To arrange an interview with Rev. Jackson on this topic, please call the telephone numbers listed above. -30-