It's been a bloody year in the nation's third-largest city. A spike in murders and shootings — much of it gang-related — shocked Chicagoans, spurred new crime-fighting strategies and left indelible images.
Chicago has produced marquee artists in the past—the Windy City is, after all, the home of Kanye, Common and Lupe Fiasco, to name a few. But Chicago has typically been associated with rap's conscious styles. In other words, Chicago has never had its street moment—until now.
John Fountain, a longtime Chicago journalist, has lived through and reported on the city's gang violence and crime. He says the faith community remains a vital part of the black community. “In some ways,” he explained, “it is an overweight, cumbersome, sleeping giant that needs to get fit…and return to the business of doing good work.”
Last weekend was a bloody one: More than 50 shootings were reported, nearly 20 percent of those were fatal. Summer after summer, Chicagoans are consumed by violence and a seemingly exponential murder rate.
Spencer Leak, Sr. sees the impact of violence first hand; many of his clients have been violently murdered. As the owner of Leak and Sons Funeral Homes, Leak aims to provide families who have lost loved ones to violence with closure.