Victims of gang violence hope summit helps heal Chicago - New York News

Victims of gang violence hope summit helps heal Chicago

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Tisha Lewis/FOX 32 Tisha Lewis/FOX 32
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Twenty-years-ago, Chicago hosted the first ever national gang summit.

The name has changed but the problems are still the same - gang violence impacting children and family citywide.

The first national gang summit in 1993 was held for five days, closed to the public and open to 300 gang members. This year it will last two days, it's open to the public and from here the summit will spread its message to four other states battling gang violence.

"I'm a former member of the Cobras," said Stan Dowells.

"I came from Robert Taylor's off of 53rd and State Street," said Dowells, a former gang member, in an interview with Fox 32's Tisha Lewis.

"What goes through my mind is that by the grace of God, I've been able to change my life and get away from the gangs, what goes through my mind is the loss of direction and no one there to try to help them out," said Dowells.

Former and current gang members and victims' families were invited by Dr. Gregory Tatum and his wife to attend the Unity Summit at the House of Hope.

Tatum is a California pastor who grew up in the Cabrini Green projects in the early 1960's - he's been a community activist since the first gang summit two decades ago.

"I don't think people are coming out with any bad intentions, they're coming to recognize their loss loved ones to share in the healing process," said Tatum.

A healing process still in progress for Nortasha Stingley.

"My daughter was killed on June 25, 2013. She was in a car with four other kids," said Stingley.

Stingley's 19-year-old daughter Marissa was the only fatality. She was riding with friends when the killer reportedly fired several shots into their car.

The case is cold and to make matters worse, "the young men in the car know exactly who did this," said Stingley.

The Summit comes on the heels of the mass shooting at a South side park that sparked furor city-wide.

Tatum says he was surprised by the reaction from law enforcement about the Summit.

"Surprisingly it's been mixed," said Tatum.

So he turned to his childhood mentor, Secretary of State Jesse White, for help.

"When I first began to go on this quest he told me to go for it Dr. Tatum, just make it all inclusive, involving all the communities so that's why we calling it the Village is Here," said Tatum.

Saturday, Secretary of State Jesse White is expected to attend and the focus will shift to the influence of music, social media and parenting.

From here, the summit heads to Los Angeles, Detroit, Toledo and Kansas City.

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