Moms celebrate 3 years of keeping deadly violence off their block

CHICAGO -- For three years, a group of moms in Englewood have done their part to prevent the deadly gun violence that has plagued many neighborhoods.

Four years ago, a woman named Lucille Barnes was shot and killed for breaking up a fight, and it was the last straw for many of the moms in the community.  They came together and formed Moms Against Senseless Killings (MASK), a group that regularly sets up shop on street corners on their block of Stewart St. near 75th St., feeding kids and letting the community know they care.

On Sunday MASK invited their community to join them for a party celebrating the upcoming school year, as well as a milestone in their work: it has been three years since there was a killing on the block. More than 100 moms helped organize the block party, which drew nearly 600 people to their area Sunday.

"We’re doing better than most neighborhoods in Chicago and we’re definitely doing better than most areas in Englewood,” said MASK's Tamar Manasseh.

The peace on the block is a welcome change for many of the folks who have lived here for decades, like 92-year-old Edwina Knight, who raised 16 children in her home, and whose grandchildren enjoyed every minute of the day’s festivities.

"A lot of kids getting killed out here and it’s just senseless violence…so its just good to see the smiles on the kids faces to see them so happy before they go back to school,” Bianca Walker said.

According to the Chicago Tribune, 117 children have been shot in Chicago since January. The moms say it’s not so much about stopping the violence, but about building community.

"Any block can be changed. All you have to do is care,” Manasseh said.