But They Need More Help
Mothers Against Senseless Killings volunteers in pink shirts were sitting in folding chairs and leaning against a mailbox at 75th Street and Harvard Avenue on Monday, hoping to prevent a violent retaliation after the death of Lucille Barnes a week ago.
“People are very emotional about it, and we don’t know what’s going to happen,” said Tamar Manasseh. “If people say there will be violence, there likely will be violence, and you go where you’re called.”
No matter how many times this myth is busted—by those in the movement and outside of it—the idea that Black people only get riled up about murders committed by white folks is just plain false. And this group of Chicago group of moms is living proof.
Like other neighborhood anti-violence groups before them, Mothers Against Senseless Killings formed after a tragic murder. When a gunman opened fire on three women last month, Tamar Manasseh got to work.
“This is about mothers reconnecting with children that haven’t been mothered that much,” she told DNAinfo Chicago. “Take away the guns, and they’re just kids.”
Manasseh and her “army” of moms and volunteers patrol the South Side neighborhood looking to defuse violent situations.
“If you’re trying to shoot someone and we’re out here, you’re not getting off the block,” she explained last month.
So far it’s working. Since Mothers Against Senseless Killings was founded five weeks ago, there have been no shootings on the blocks the group patrols.
At the moment, Manasseh’s crew includes about 15 volunteers who’ve committed to being on the streets until Labor Day, but she says she needs more people.
“Recruiting and getting more volunteers has been quite the challenge,” she admits, but she isn’t daunted by the task. Even though she lives in Bronzeville, Manasseh and the other Mothers Against Senseless Killings volunteers set up shop on several corners in the South Side neighborhood to do their part.
“A mother’s love is selfless, annoying and always there,” she said. “This is what mothers do best, get in the way.”