[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he 8th Annual Cease Fire Week has been underway throughout the week in celebration of the continuous reduction in gang-related shootings and homicides. Cease Fire Week took place in Cicero, which neighbors many of Chicago’s most violent neighborhoods such as Little Village, Austin and Lawndale. The event kicked off June 23 and will continue through June 27.
This year’s Cease Fire lineup included:
Monday: soccer tournament;
Tuesday: volleyball instruction and tournament;
Wednesday: softball tournament and Break the Violence Night;
Thursday: basketball instruction and tournament; Family Fun Festival; Community Vigil for Violence;
Friday: Family Health Fair and Peace March.
Friday’s Family Health Fair will be held at the Cicero Community Center at 2250 S. 49th Ave. The fair is open to families of all ages and will run from 1 to 4 p.m. The March for Peace begins at 5:30 p.m.
Cease Fire began in 1995 in the West Garfield community. It went on to achieve a 67 percent drop in shootings and killings in the neighborhood. Cease Fire is currently active in 18 neighborhoods in Chicago and seven in Illinois.
Corazon Community Services spearheaded the event in collaboration with other community partners. Corazon has provided consistent assistance to the Cicero community since their formation in 2003. Their mission is to “serve the heart of their community.” In order to best accomplish their mission statement, Corazon stresses cultural sensitivity, as Cicero is predominantly Latino. They provide programs in four key areas: prevention, intervention, education and health. Today, the nonprofit’s services directly serve 600 individuals a month and impacts over 2,000 community members with its events and community education programs.
Over the years, the Cicero community has seen significant improvements within the neighborhood. There have been reductions in gang-related shootings/homicides and teen pregnancies, as well as an increase of provisions for youth and families. For example, Corazon offers STD testing, HIV/AIDS testing and stay in school initiatives.
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