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Mayor Richard M. Daley today joined members of the faith-based community and other concerned Chicagoans in support of an initiative to light downtown buildings blue to symbolize peace in the week of January 14-21, during which the birthday of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King is observed.
“Every year at this time, we pause to think about the contribution the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King made to our society and to recommit ourselves to the work of achieving his dream of fairness, equality and opportunity for all people,” Daley said in a City Hall news conference.
“There is no greater barrier to achieving that dream than the violence that too many Chicagoans face in their neighborhoods every day,” he said.
The Mayor was joined at the news conference by Father Michael Pfleger, pastor of the Faith Community of St. Sabina, who originated the lighting idea, and representatives of the Building Owners and Managers Association of Chicago, the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence and Purpose Over Pain, a group composed of parents whose children have been murdered.
“We need only reflect on the horrible killings in Arizona this week to understand once again that it is the responsibility of every one of us to make our city a safer place,” Daley said.
“Some people seem to think that violence is just something that happens when you live in a big city. Well, I disagree. We don't have to accept the violence,” he said.
The Mayor noted that in 2010, homicides in Chicago totaled 435 – the lowest number since 1965.
“That's good news, but of little comfort to me and those who have lost their loved ones,” he said.
Daley challenged every Chicagoan, every community group and every institution in the city to get involved in their communities in some way and join in the fight against violence.
“Let's channel our energy and passion into ending the violence. That’s the message we’re trying to send with the blue lights on our downtown buildings,” he said.
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