July 20, 2017
Gang Violence in Chicago – Hon. Raymond Lopez, Mary Mitchell, and Rev. Michael Pfleger
Hon. Raymond Lopez
Alderman Raymond Lopez currently lives in the Brighton Park neighborhood. He has deep ties to the Back of the Yards community where his grandparents and great-grandparents grew up. Alderman Lopez attended catholic school at St. Camillus Elementary and at St. Laurence HS. He went on to study at UIC majoring in Political Science and the Teaching of English Literature.
At 18 Alderman Lopez was a Precinct Captain for Congressman Dan Lipinski, father of current Congressman Bill. At 20 he lead marches against prostitution along Cicero Ave. At 21 he was elected to service as a Community Representative on the Kennedy HS Local School Council. At 31 he answered the Democratic Party’s open call for consideration for the Lieutenant Governor’s nomination. In 2011, at 33, Lopez ran against, and forced a run-off with incumbent Alderman Toni Foulkes. In 2012, Lopez ran unopposed for Democratic Committeeman. After a ward re-map that saw a shift in demographics, Lopez ran again for City Council in 2015 in an open seat election against 5 challengers and won in a run-off with 58% of the vote.
Prior to becoming Alderman, Lopez worked for Southwest Airlines for 12 years. He currently lives with his husband Hugo of 11 years with their 7 dogs in Brighton Park.
Mary A. Mitchell is an Editorial Board Member and Columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times. Mitchell joined the Sun-Times as an Education Writer in 1991, and has covered City Hall and US Federal Courts. Published Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, Mitchell’s columns continually raise community awareness about important advocacy issues, including criminal justice, police misconduct, and race relations. In several instances, her reporting led state legislators to strengthen laws protecting the rights of women and children. Today, Mitchell’s reporting often rallies African American readers to empower their communities by giving the voiceless a platform to address social ills, such as failing schools, abusive police, disparities in the criminal justice system, and corrupt government officials.
Mitchell has written for several national publications including, Essence magazine. From 2006 through 2010, Mitchell co-hosted a popular Sunday morning public affairs program on V-103. She is a is a frequent panelist on Fox-TV and on WTTW’s “Week In Review”, and has appeared on national news programs, including “Meet The Press”.
Mitchell is a recipient of numerous journalism awards, including the Award of Excellence from the National Association of Black Journalists; the Studs Terkel Award from the Community Media Workshop; the Peter Lisagor Award from the Chicago Headline Club; and in 2011, Mitchell was inducted into the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame. Mitchell was raised in Chicago and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Columbia College Chicago.
Rev. Michael Pfleger
Rev. Michael Pfleger was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago on May 14, 1975. In 1981, at the age of 31, he became the youngest full pastor in the diocese when he was appointed Pastor of Saint Sabina Church. Father Pfleger has been recognized for his fight against alcohol and tobacco billboards, violence, drugs, and racism in national publications such as People, Time, Ebony, Newsweek and Jet magazines; The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, The Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Chicago Reader, and numerous other papers and journals. He has also been profiled on the following television shows: “Day One” (ABC), “60 Minutes” (CBS), BBC in Great Britain, “Larry King Live” (CNN), and Nightline (ABC).
In the course of his extensive and active ministry, Father Pfleger has been recognized for his commitment to equality and his passionate stance against injustice. Some of the awards and honors he has received include: “Keeper of the Dream”, Rainbow/Push; Distinguished Service Award, Nation of Islam; “Thurgood Marshall Award”, National Black Prosecutors Association; “Monsignor Egan Social Justice Award”, DePaul University, “I Am A Man Award”, April 4th Foundation in Memphis, TN, “Rosa Parks Award”, from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the “Unsung Hero Award”, Wade’s World Foundation. He is also the founder of The Ark of St. Sabina Youth Center, the Employment Resource Center, St. Sabina’s Elders Village, the Beloved Community Development Center, and St. Sabina Samaritan Building for low income housing. Father Pfleger received his B.A. in Theology from Loyola University, his Master of Divinity from the University of St. Mary of the Lake and an honorary Doctor of Divinity from North Park Theological Seminary. He has done post-graduate studies at Mundelein College and the Catholic Theological Union.