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Playing to a Tough Crowd:  READI Chicago

Playing to a Tough Crowd: READI Chicago

They’re playing to a tough crowd:  96% have prior arrests, 64% served time behind bars and 80% have been victims of violent crime themselves. READI Chicago, the Rapid Employment And Development Initiative, serves a hardened clientele that many wouldn’t attempt to...
When My Son Was Killed

When My Son Was Killed

This is the story Bertha Purnell told me: When my son Maurice was killed, I went a little bit crazy. It started when I got the call and rushed to where he’d been shot, on Laramie Avenue in my neighborhood, Austin. Everything was like a blur and later I remembered I...
Mothers On A Mission

Mothers On A Mission

It was what they call an “Angelversary” – the day Maurice Purnell became an angel, the date he was killed, June 24th. Just six weeks earlier there had been another, that one in honor of Trevon Jeffries, shot down on May 12th. Yet another came six weeks before that,...
Burying Our Young

Burying Our Young

Leak & Sons Funeral Home doesn’t need the extra business; plenty of people die, you can count on that. But on Chicago’s South Side, they’re dying much too often – and much too soon. Homicide adds to the bottom line, but those are profits owner Spencer Leak Sr....
Mothers and Men Against Senseless Killings

Mothers and Men Against Senseless Killings

Tamar Manasseh lays out a recipe for Chicago’s violence. “If you bake a cake, you need many things,” said the founder of Mothers/Men Against Senseless Killings (MASK). “If you remove the baking soda or the eggs or something else, it won’t be a cake.” Likewise, she...