People all over the Chicago area seemed determined to get the most out of the summer-like weather on Memorial Day.
That was also true on Chicago’s West Side, which saw a lot of violence this weekend.
Herman Hoskins arrived early at Garfield Park.
“You got to get out of here about 7 o’clock or it will be crowded out there,” Hoskins said, as his two teenage daughters sipped on cherry ICEEs.
Hoskins said he wouldn’t allow violence to keep his family from enjoying the day. He’s noticed more police and he’s happy about that.
“Yes, I do support the police because it keeps our families safe,” Hoskins said.
Oscar Ramsay was also at the park meeting with friends for his weekly game of dominos. He thinks one solution to violence is better parenting.
“If your kid is a minor, then you should know where he is at night. He has no business 10 or 11 o’clock at night. It’s just that simple,” Ramsay said.
A little further away was Robert Nick. Nick too arrived to Garfield Park early Monday morning to grab a good spot for his family’s annual Memorial Day barbecue.
He said he’s concerned about the violence in and around this park, primarily at night, but shares his neighbors’ sentiment that it won’t keep him away.
“Yes, it does scare you. Believe me it does,” Nick said. “You can’t stop that. Anything that’s going to happen is going to happen for a certain reason.”
But Joyce Jones said in the 40 years she’s lived in Chicago, it has changed for the worse.
“I like Chicago but it isn’t what it used to be. It’s like it’s scary now,” said Jones, whose family came to the city from Arizona when she was 16.
Jones had her radio for company as she set up her picnic spot at Garfield Park. The spot is close to where three people were shot in separate incidents since Saturday.
“It (violence) is everywhere. You can’t just stay locked up in your house. I just pray on it and keep on going,” Jones said.
Jones said she felt better because she could see police around the park.
“They said they were going to have the police out. I feel safe,” she said.
Following WBEZ Reporter Michael Puente on Twitter @MikePuenteNews.