The success of the 2009 Chicago Peace Campaign was remarkable and inspired several of the leaders to do it again in the summer of 2010. Organizing for the 2010 effort got underway just little earlier than the original effort. But, without mass crisis (or at least the heavy media attention to the crisis) finding supporters, organizers and activists would prove much more challenging. But, God was still with the Campaign.
As the founding pastoral influence in Chicago Peace Campaign, Bishop Edward Peecher spearheaded the 2010 effort (the first ever organizing meeting for the campaign was hosted at his Kenwood home). The congregation at Chicago Embassy Church quickly signed up to support the work of the Peace Campaign in the Summer of 2010. And The Lord sent another pastor and another church to join the effort as well. Bishop James Dukes and the congregation at Liberation Christian Center came alongside to strengthen the work.
In this follow-up summer, we included all of the primary elements of the original Chicago Peace Campaign. But, with limited funding and limited participation, it was important to preserve the model without overtaxing the resources. So, all of the tactics were organized around an anchor tactic, Friday Night Lights.
We chose for a location a much more visible spot at the intersection of two major streets on the Southside of Chicago; 69th and Ashland. We chose the location in cooperation with local police and community leaders. The first night, it was apparent why they had recommended this spot. It was live. There drug dealers who seemed to be associated with a convenience store. There were all night fried food joints and people just hanging out on the corner. It was a brewing pot for the types of situations that lead to violence.
But, we just did our thing. We cleaned up on that corner (Peace Projects). We lent a listening ear to many and shared the gospel with some (Beautiful Feet). And we shined our lights and held up “Peace” signs and sang and prayed late into the night (Peaceful Speech/Friday Night Lights). And it was effective.
That summer, the convenience store that housed the drug dealers shut down. Eventually, the all night fried food joint was mostly empty (at least on Friday nights). While the drop wasn’t quit as precipitous as the previous summer, the violence numbers went down and the people in the community were tremendously blessed.