Faith leaders march against Chicago violence as Memorial Day weekend begins

City and faith leaders kicked off the Memorial Day holiday weekend with a march against violence Saturday afternoon in Grand Crossing.

The Rev. John Hannah, senior pastor of New Life Covenant Church Southeast, led hundreds in the “Prayer on the 9” march, an annual event to draw attention to violence problems and call for community members to band together against crime.

“Our youth matter,” Hannah said. “We want 79th Street to be a safe place for our community to thrive.”

The 1.5-mile march began on South Greenwood Avenue and took over East 79th Street with a police escort. Onlookers cheered and prayed. 

Residents hold a march against violence on Saturday in the Grand Crossing neighborhood.

Kaitlin Washburn/Sun-Times

More than a dozen people have been shot across Chicago in the opening hours of the long weekend, which marks the unofficial start of summer — and has long signaled the start of increased violence in the city.

“Our city is under siege,” Hannah said. “Our youth deserve to live their lives without fear of senseless shootings and violence.”

New Life gave $1,000 to the family of 16-year-old Seandell Holliday, who was shot to death last May near the Bean in Millennium Park.

Mayor Brandon Johnson expressed support for Hannah’s efforts.

“As you line up alongside one another today, recognize that our strength and hope is built on a really firm foundation,” Johnson said.

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