Mothers Of Gang Members Join Forces In Chicago


It’s what everyone wants to know after a gang member terrorizes a neighborhood, says the Chicago Sun Times: Where are the parents? For the last several months, some of them have been meeting in a church basement to pray and cry and face a deep shame: They are mothers of the gang-bangers on the corners. Or they fear their child is about to join a gang.

Many are also single parents, struggling to pay bills. They work 16 hours a day, and every time they hear a gunshot, they worry their child has been shot or has shot someone else’s child. Some chase after their kids at 2 a.m.; others have stood in defiance when they won’t leave a corner. And yes, they wonder what they did wrong. Said Lisa Rivera, who goes to police community meetings and baseball games, yet still fights the gang influence over her three teens: “It’s hard to explain, but there is a lot of shame and embarrassment. All we know is we didn’t raise our kids this way. [] We are not crackhead alcoholics.” The group of about 25 Hispanic mothers were organized by Oscar Contreras, a supervisor for Catholic Charities who works in the Back of the Yards neighborhood.


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