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M.A.S.K. leads against poverty and violence

Maria Pike  |  Issue: October | November 2019

Mothers Against Senseless Killings leads against poverty and violence


Editor’s note:  Chantell Grant and Andrea Stoudemire, were shot to death last July 26 at 75th and Stewart on the South Side of Chicago. This is the corner where Mothers Against Senseless Killing (MASK) has been operating for over four years to bring peace to a community abandoned by the city for decades. Someone on Facebook said that such work was “a waste of time.” On July 28, Maria Pike, a MASK activist and mother who has lost a child to gun violence, reiterated her reply below in an address to 100 persons gathered at the corner where Chantell and Andrea lost their lives.

Someone just posted, “It’s a waste of time.”

As you all know, MASK does not do marches, rallies, etc. because they believe their activism is better served by what they do for the community they care about, and engage in things like buying Pampers, feeding the kids, the youth, the homeless, the alcoholics, giving advice when asked and providing a safe haven for the children in the neighborhood (while they are there, weather permitting) during summer. Their beach is the concrete underneath their feet (an improvement from the dirt mixed with junk), the two four-foot baby pools and recently a couple of fans donated by a Hyde Park mom. Their monies come from individual pockets, volunteer pockets, meal trains, donations of labor, etc.

And something happens during those daily interactions. Their neighbors start seeing eye to eye, their compassion moves to empathy and they build relationships with the people they serve.

We may all disagree, agree to disagree and shade each other every once in a while, but what no one should even question is the reason why MASK even exists and question its resilience to storms, figurative and real.

Four women have been shot in recent weeks in this area. One was in a domestic violence situation (two of three last night were women) at around 10 p.m. Two women have died. As far as I know one of them was someone who brought her three kids to play and be fed daily. Is this personal? You bet your dismissive self it is! One mother has left three orphans that other mothers from the suburbs, the North Side, the South Side, the West Side have served because they cared, and they wanted them to thrive in this God-forgotten place. These are black moms, white moms, brown moms, Asian moms, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Catholic, Agnostic! These women are deserving of being treated as human beings and not as a statistic.

We moms get the desperation her kids must be now feeling: their broken hearts, the uncertain future, the feeling of how unfair it is to not only be poor and disenfranchised, but to be discarded like your simple but telling comment alluded to. Someone chose to spray bullets on women, on mothers and WE have something to say about that. The war on the status quo seems to have failed us and we are MAD, we have something to say about this hate and disregard for the lives of others. SO, it is not “A WASTE OF TIME.” Life looks different outside a computer or phone screen. Me and other moms will be there as women who have lost sisters. This is hatred against women as well. That is all.

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