On Nov. 24, the Zakat Foundation Chicago Community Center (Zakat Foundation of AmericaCCC) held a community event on the importance of preventing street violence. The Zakat Foundation of AmericaCCC presented Imam Qasim Ahmed, Founder and Director of Islamic Learning Institute to the South Shore Community. He led an engaging, inspiring and instructional conversation for community members. He shared his experiences as a young person going up on the west side of Chicago as well as his success story of converting to Islam and inviting others to a better life. His subject was “Putting the Neighbor Back in the Hood.” He gave examples of how neighborly relationships can combat violence.
Dozens of community members attended the event and the majority of people were interested in getting to work and taking the grass roots approach to combating street violence. One woman said she was ready to begin; just give her the day and time. A few of the participants were under 30 but most were 40+ African American adults who have been affected personally by street violence. They have lost family members to street violence or have family members who have been the perpetrators of street violence. A director at the Chicago, Haymarket Drug Counseling Center was very interested in collaborating with our violence prevention team.
Our purpose was to have a conversation with the neighborhood and broader community about being conscious and not desensitized to the countless occurrences of violence in our neighborhoods. Imam Qasim gave us a refreshing message and as a result, we successfully signed up several volunteers for our violence prevention team. Every third Sunday of the month we will take to the streets in a neighborly way. We plan to do a clean up the neighborhood literally and figuratively. Join us Dec. 16 to make a difference in Chicago communities and put an end to street violence.