Chicago, Illinois has 83 reported homicides in 2017 alone. One mother, Tamar Manasseh, is sick of it and sits out on the corner of 75th Street and Stewart Avenue, an infamously dangerous street intersection.
Manasseh is the president of Mothers Against Senseless Killings (MASK) where the mission started with just mothers wearing pink, giving out water, barbecuing, and sitting out on violent street corners between 4 and 8pm. Now not only mothers, but volunteers from all backgrounds help the cause.
“Would you rather be out trying to solve the problem and get shot? Or just be in the kitchen cooking dinner and a bullet comes through the window and you get shot,” Manasseh told Heavy while patrolling an unsafe corner. “Which one would you rather do? That’s what this comes down to.”
Mothers and activists from across the United States have taken notice to MASK’s work and plan to start chapters in their cities. Along with chapters that have already opened in Staten Island, New York, Evansville, Indiana, and a brand new chapter in Memphis, Tennessee.
Manasseh decided to start patrolling street corners in 2015 after Lucille Barnes was shot to death on 75th and Stewart. Manasseh has said in previous interviews that she didn’t know Barnes, but the killing of a mother just trying to break up a fight really bothered her.
She was then moved to rally a few mothers around Chicago to start a group against gun violence, and MASK was born.
Chicago’s South and West side have been known for gun violence, and shootings have extremely risen in the last year. Between 2015 and 2016, Chicago experienced 58 percent more homicides and 43 percent more fatalities from shootings than any other year, according to a study by the University of Chicago.
The study states that increases in homicides in American cities can be typical, but not in large cities like Chicago. Their research shows that this sudden boost came about in the month of January 2016 alone. Homicides and shootings skyrocketed compared to 2015 rates and continuously worsened as 2016 went along. The increase was mostly in gun crimes, and other crimes did not change nearly as much.