7th Annual CeaseFire Week kicks off in Cicero, IL

Written by Andrea Cladek

CICERO, IL–The chanting could be heard all the way down South Laramie Avenue. Young children, parents, law enforcement, and community officials gathered together in a rousing chorus of “Cease el fuego!” 

Cease fire!

Monday, June 24th marked the beginning of Cicero’s 7th annual CeaseFire week, five days of free community programming for local youth and their families from June 24 to June 28. Cicero-based nonprofit Corazon Community Services collaborated with the Town of Cicero and other community partners to present the activities, which included a health fair, break dance competition, sports tournaments, and more.

CF WeekAccording to Corazon executive director Mary E. Johnson, the week is an important time for the people of Cicero to recognize the huge strides the city has taken in addressing and reducing violence.

“Violence of all forms has plagued our community, but recently, we have begun to see changes. It is during this event that we both combat that violence and celebrate new peace.”

And the changes Johnson speaks of have been striking. One by one, each speaker approached the podium to give testimony to the evolution of a safer Cicero.

  • According to Deputy Jerry Chlada, Cicero has seen a 50 percent reduction in crime in the last 8 years.
  • State Rep. Lisa Hernandez emphasized that this year, Cicero has not experienced any gang-related homicides.
  • Cicero has been named one of the safest 20 towns in America, according to State Sen. Martin Sandoval.

But even beyond the numbers, Corazon has witnessed actual, profound transformations in the youth themselves. The nonprofit serves over 17,000 youth and their families every year through its core Youth Services, Health Education and Community Initiatives departments.

As the crowd parted and children swarmed onto the fields to begin playing soccer, Rep. Hernandez gave her final statement:

“Violence does not run our communities.”

While Cicero CeaseFire Week is over it is not too late to get in on the action and help support Corazon’s violence prevention efforts. On Wednesday, November 14th at the National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen, Corazon will sponsor “Break the Violence” with special dance performances. Learn more at Corazon’s website: http://www.corazoncs.org/

While Cicero CeaseFire Week is over it is not too late to get in on the action and help support Corazon’s violence prevention efforts. On Wednesday, November 14th at the National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen, Corazon will sponsor “Break the Violence” with special dance performances. Learn more at Corazon’s website: http://www.corazoncs.org/