Congregation Hosts Interfaith Meeting on Gun Violence

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Anti-gun violence advocate, Sister Kathy Sherman, CSJ.

Illinois State Representative Chris Welch
addresses the need for tougher gun laws.

Table discussion allowed everyone to share perspectives, find common ground, and explore collaboration possibilities.

Last month, The Chicago Tribune reported that more than 50 people were shot over one violent weekend in Chicago, a level of violence that has marked many of the summer weekends this year and has pushed the total number of people shot in the city to more than 2,600 so far this year alone.

In response to these sobering numbers, Sister Kathy Sherman, CSJ, in collaboration with the Women’s League of Voters, Mom’s Demand Action, La Grange Diversity Group and the Congregation of St. Joseph hosted an interfaith meeting at our La Grange Park Center on September 13 for Action Against Gun Violence. Seventy people, including Illinois State Representative (7th District) Chris Welch, participated to study the cause of Chicago gun violence, current gun laws and the need for universal background checks, specifically in Indiana, Missouri and Wisconsin, to stop gun trafficking and deaths resulting from guns in Chicago. It was reported that 60% of guns recovered from crimes in Chicago came from guns trafficked from states with weak gun laws.

“Even as we gather trying to make a difference in the lives of our sisters and brothers in our great city and surrounding suburbs, we’re aware that the violence in our cities and neighborhoods throughout the country continues to escalate at a rapid pace causing pain and heartache for our sisters and brothers,” said Sister Kathy Sherman, CSJ. “There is a need AND an urgency for us to come together, to network and to partner with others in order to address this critical issue, which I believe is also a spiritual issue.”

Attendees also viewed the film, Making a Killing: Guns, Greed and the NRA, which explores the causes of gun violence, the NRA lobby, and shows what really goes on at gun shops and gun shows.

In addition, the Congregation of St. Joseph joined the Illinois Gun Violence Prevention Coalition, who are committed to spreading the word about a new online voter guide which details every candidates, both local and national, stand on issues of importance, including their stance on gun violence. Both the congregation and the Gun Violence Prevention Coalition are inviting people to vote for universal background checks for gun sales (including internet and gun show sales) in states where there are no such laws.

“As Sisters of St. Joseph, we are deeply saddened by the recently reported large number of deaths resulting from gun violence in Chicago and across the country,” said Sister Pat Bergen, CSJ, a member of the Congregation Leadership Team. “We are committed to collaborating with others and continuing to find ways to stop easy access to guns and help decrease these senseless injuries and deaths.”

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