By Chinta Strausberg, Chicago Crusader
Why does Saint Sabina’s Father Michael L. Pfleger continue to put up $5,000 rewards and sometimes more, for the capture of shooters who kill children?
The answer is simple: “because they do not deserve their freedom.”
If there are no leads to any of Chicago’s murders of children, you can count on Father Pfleger to step up and post yet another $5,000 reward.
“Anybody who kills, particularly a child, should be off the streets whether it’s a police officer (who kills a child) or a brother on the street. I don’t care who it is. They do not deserve their freedom.
“I will put up a reward for anybody in this community or on the South Side who kills a child. If there are no leads, I will put up money,” said Father Pfleger.
“We have given out about 24 rewards over the last 10-12 years,” said Pfleger. “We have about 12 out right now. None of the money comes from the church.
“I want to take killers off the street. I don’t like the prisons, but you can’t be on the streets if you kill a child,” he said.
Father Pfleger just ended his weekly peace walks where he called on gangbangers to put their guns down. He offers them jobs, free education and any of the social services he has.
Pfleger has also bought suits for gang members so they would look presentable during job interviews.
He began his anti-violence marches in June of 2012. At first, when the gang members saw him and his supporters they would run. When even some of his strongest members complained about the rejection they were getting by the gangs, Pfleger told them, “I will not give up on our youth.”
He began to bring in NBA players like Isiah Thomas, Joakim Noah, Cobe Williams and Asa Powell, a former drug dealer who is now the largest promotions manager in the Midwest. The gangs gravitated to Pfleger and the result is the historic gang truce among five rival gangs who now play tournament basketball at Saint Sabina.
Pfleger said there have been times when a player played against someone who had shot him six-months earlier and there was not one incident.
Pfleger just held his fifth basketball tournament and is looking forward to the sixth. He also just secured full time jobs for 12 former gang leaders.