Hundreds of Chicago men gather to fight violence block-by-block - FOX 32 News Chicago

Hundreds of Chicago men gather to fight violence block-by-block

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - Hundreds of men, gospel music and volunteers were ready to sign up Sunday evening in the Woodlawn neighborhood and make a difference in communities impacted by violence.

J.R. Hubbard owns his own tattoo shop and says volunteering in #BrothersOnTheBlock was personal.

“I've known Pastor [Brooks] for a while.  When I was a teenager, I was one of the kids at his church that he mentored and always looked up to him.  If it wasn't for him I may have become one of the at risk youths that was out in the streets shooting,” Hubbard said. “I just wanted to give back and he's offered that opportunity."

Spearheaded by New Beginnings Church Pastor Corey Brooks, the idea to get 5,000 men on the 500 most violent blocks in Chicago started with the #brothersontheblock.

“Walking the blocks, knocking on doors, building relationships,” said Brooks in an interview with FOX 32’s Tisha Lewis.

Brooks says the volunteers understand the dangers that lie ahead.

“Safety is not promised to any of us now, so I can't promise that anyone is safe, I can't promise that something won't happen and I'm not going to promise that,” said Brooks.

“But it's worth it if we're going to save lives and so because we understand that, that's exactly what we're going to do,” said Brooks.

One of those volunteers includes U.S. Senate Candidate Jim Oberweis.

“I'm here to listen and to learn,” said Oberweis.

Also at Sunday night’s sing up event were families affected by the senseless acts of violence, including LaTanya Bluitt whose husband, Antonio, was shot and killed in 2007 - leaving her to raise their four daughters.

“I think it's very important that we reach out to the community, to the churches, to the parents,” said Bluitt.

Brooks said Chicago Police have been helpful with the Brothers On The Block mission by providing his team with data about the 500 most violent blocks in Chicago.  The volunteers will cover blocks in Roseland, Englewood and Woodlawn every Friday night this summer, between 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

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