The Chicago Peace Campaign is a multi-community effort that will organize at minimum 10 churches and faith-based organizations to establish peace in the areas of the city that have been most impacted by violence.
The Chicago Peace Campaign is not an anti-violence effort. It is a peace effort. If a room is dark, the solution is not to curse the darkness. The solution is to turn on the light. The more light that comes into the room, the less darkness can remain. If the room is filled with light, darkness can’t even hide in the corner. In the same way, the Chicago Peace Campaign, while totally committed to ending violence in the city, is not focused on anti-violence efforts, but on coordinating and supporting activities that will establish peace in neighborhoods. We call this strategy “Peacemaking”.
On March 30, 2009 twenty people met in the living room of a Kenwood home. They gathered to discuss the possibility that through an organized mobilization effort, the church in Chicago could establish peace in place of violence in the city streets.
The meeting was profoundly diverse. There was a range of ages from nineteen years old, to sixty-eight years old. There were grandparents, parents, and children; a college professor, and a former gang member. There were pastors, students, business people, and a community organizer. This group agreed to organize a campaign that would mobilize institutions to seek the peace of the city. The Chicago Peace campaign was born.
That summer 6 churches in 3 neighborhoods (Englewood, Lawndale and Woodlawn) organized Peace Campaign efforts. In the areas where Peace Campaign activities were organized, there was a precipitous drop in violent crime (as much as 25%). Since that time, other groups have effectively implemented “peacemaking” as an anti-violence strategy.
Peace Campaign 2016
The 2009 and 2010 effort was organized in response to an acute increase in violent crime, particularly among young people and had an impact in stemming that tide. But, violence came back with a vengeance. In the summer of 2016, we will re-launch the Chicago Peace Campaign with more partners and in more communities.
The campaign will recruit and train leaders from churches and faith-based organization on Peacemaking as a strategy in the Spring of 2016 (beginning in March). These leaders and the institutions they represent will be prepared to launch Peace Campaign efforts in their communities on Labor Day weekend. The Campaign will continue throughout the summer and culminate Memorial Day weekend. Over that time, churches will make a significant impact on violence indicators in Chicago.About Chicago Peace Campagin