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Another chance for North Lawndale to show its determination to change not only the look of violence in the neighborhood but also the sound of violence in the neighborhood is happening on Saturday, May 22, 2021, at 1:00 p.m. CDT.
Bike Out Negativity, an event coordinated by residents and businesses in North Lawndale, is an annual bike ride where kids and adults ride through various neighborhoods, with the hope of letting the gangs know they are here and that they want things to change.
Derek Brown is a lead organizer for the ride. He is the founder of Boxing Out Negativity, a program that services kids ages eight and up, who are at risk for violence, including those who have already been involved in violent situations. Brown says that the increase in violence has risen tremendously, and it is not safe to walk the streets of North Lawndale.
Other organizations partnering with the event are UCAN, St. Anthony Hospital, and the North Lawndale Athletic and Recreation Association. People who participate will have access to services these facilities provide, including receiving free vaccinations against COVID-19. There will be a mobile clinic offering the Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer vaccines.
The Bike Out Negativity community expo will begin at 10 a.m. across from St. Agatha Catholic Church, located at 3147 W. Douglas Blvd. There will be a free community resource fair to assist residents with resources such as social services, youth programs, and health-related matters. Register online on Eventbrite (see link below).
The expo will also offer free haircuts for kids; free care packages with athletic gear, including youth-sized basketballs; gift bags; children’s books, and free soccer balls. There will be music, food, and snacks, and a live performance by the Celestial Ministries youth drumline. Organizers of the event will be giving away 100 bikes.
The bike ride, which will begin at 1:00 p.m., immediately after Toni Preckwinkle, president of the Cook County Board, gives a short speech, will consist of a six-mile route traveling through Little Village and ending at Love Blooms Here Plaza, where participants will find a mini-museum exhibit focused on cycling, racial equity, and mobility justice.
Brown stated that Bike Out Negativity targets areas that have had recent incidents of violence, hopefully attracting people from the area to get with the program to help ensure safety in North Lawndale.
Last year, the North Lawndale Bike Ride for Peace became a citywide biking experience, after over 400 bikers from across Chicago showed up for the Street Love Ride. The intention was to show the streets some love. The streets gave the love back by honking horns, raising fists, and cheering positively.
North Lawndale’s next event, Street Love Ride will take place August 21, from 8 a.m. until 11 p.m.
Brown calls the ride a symbol of peace, unity, and togetherness, and hopes that it suppress violence, negativity, and create great memories for the residents of North Lawndale.
Written by Brenda Robinson
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
BLOCK CLUB Chicago: West Side Community Bike Ride Saturday Will Be ‘A Symbol Of Peace’ For Local Youth; by Pascal Sabino
Link to Register: Bike Out Negativity Community Ride