(Lori Burns, Kevin Bacon, Burrell Poe)
We are doing our best to inspire compassionate actions in Chicago in order to heal the apathy, anger, and violence plaguing the west and south sides.
During a recent call with our COMPASSION IT Chicago team, volunteer Lori Burns (pictured above) shared a frightening story that brought me to tears. I asked her to put the story in writing in order to display the urgency of our mission to cultivate compassion in Chicago.
Please take a few moments to read about Lori's recent near-miss in the neighborhood of Austin.
Sharing what happened to us yesterday (Aug. 24, 2016) about 8 pm.
In short: I was with regular people on a busy Chicago street, and we were nearly shot by stray bullets...again.
Slow Roll Chicago is a fantastic group of folks with a mission to increase biking in minority communities and promote cross pollination of all kinds of people. They host a weekly evening ride in different neighborhoods, slow enough for kids and seniors to enjoy. They are smart, kind, dedicated and awesome!
Last night's ride was in the Austin neighborhood. It was a perfect summer evening.
Three-quarters of the way through the ride, our eclectic group of eight approached an intersection near the Austin L station. We waved at two Chicago police officers standing on the train platform high above us. Waiting at the red light, we began to turn down a quiet street when we heard...fireworks? No. Gunshots. A lot of them in the near distance.
Half the group was traveling toward the danger, then quickly away, while the rest of us were still at the light waiting with other cars. I heard a whiz, a high pitched crack & ‘thunk’ about 3 feet from where we were standing alongside a white van. It happened so fast, by the time I ducked it was over.
The van driver crossed the intersection and then got out to confirm what we heard. There was a bullet hole in the center of his passenger door. He was calm but visibly shaken, "I have my baby in here..." I looked into the windows of the van. A frightened boy, maybe 4 years old, was in the middle seat. I was simultaneously heart broken, furious, relieved and nauseous. Two older men waiting for the bus witnessed the entire incident and said what we were all thinking - "This is crazy." One man wished us well and reminded all to, "...stay prayed up." We exchanged blessings and went our separate ways.
Our group completed the ride - we needed to.
It's disgusting that this experience isn't unique. Every day people like us are lucky, protected, left to witness versus perish? Even if not shot or killed, this constant fear of violence is literally making people sick, like a low grade fever sapping energy & hope. I left work early today to visit my great aunt Martha. She'll be 90 in September. Spending time with her boosts my energy & hope. I didn't tell her what happened.
If you would like to help us bring COMPASSION IT to the inner city of Chicago, please consider donating to support our Chicago initiatives.