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.