Activists, officials try to bridge divide in Mount Greenwood

After weeks of tension on the far South Side’s Mt. Greenwood neighborhood, a community meeting left some hopeful Sunday night.

Since Chicago police shot and killed the armed Indianapolis man Joshua Beal, 25, earlier this month protesters have been clashing with ‘Blue Lives Matter’ supporters.

At times the exchanges between the two groups have become racially divisive in Mt. Greenwood, which is known to be home to many of the city's police officers and firefighters.

“The challenge of what's happening at 111th is it is two sides yelling at each other - they are not hearing each other, they are not trying to bridge the divide,” said Chicago’s Deputy Mayor Andrea Zopp.

There was one protest group that quietly left the intersection Sunday carrying simple signs in hand that read – ‘Let's Talk.’

“They want to talk about a peaceful resolution, they want to talk about moving forward, building bridges, uniting,” said 19th Ward Alderman Matt O’Shea. “We've seen a lot of ugliness the last few weeks. “This is a problem in every neighborhood in every city all over this country - the difference is we are here to talk about it.”

The media was only allowed inside the meeting for a few minutes, but those attending tell us there was good conversation and a few uncomfortable moments.

“This is not a cookie-cutting, kumbaya meeting in here,” said south side pastor Bishop James Dukes of the Liberation Christian Center. “This is a real meeting between different cultures that are trying to get an understanding of each other and still survive.”

Community leaders said they hope to have many more meetings like this and hope that this can become a model for the rest of the country and the tension that exists in most communities.

 

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