In Chicago, where one year can see nearly 800 murder cases, neighborhood gangs are beginning to put aside their differences to better their communities. In North Pullman, rival gangs have worked together to build a playground, to commemorate an eight-month peace in the neighborhood.
Local gang members told CBS News that they agreed to a cease-fire last October because each side had become tired of the never-ending cycle of senseless violence.
Gang member Sherman Scullarck said that at least in this tiny corner of Chicago, the children can finally play without worrying about getting caught up in the middle of a gun battle.
“It’s peace going on now. They really could play—they don’t need to worry about anything,” Scullarck said.
“You get to hang out, sit on the porch and not have to feel somebody’s jumping out of the car and start shooting. The kids can have somewhere to play peacefully and both sides can come and enjoyed themselves,” he added.
Chicago police detective Vivian Williams, one of the outside participants in the truce, said that each side of the conflict had no clue what their feud was over.
“Several young men have been shot (and) some kill over a gang war that none of them even knew what they were fighting about,” Williams said.
Arne Duncan of Chicago CRED, an activist group who also worked on the truce said that other gangs throughout the city have been inspired to follow in this neighborhood’s footsteps.
“We’re working directly with the young men on the south and west sides most likely to shoot and be shot. They didn’t ask for anything for themselves. They said ‘our kids have no place to play. Can you help us build a playground?’” Duncan said.