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Anti-violence Group Expands to Rogers Park Following Streak of Shootings

Graham Garfield | Wikimedia CommonsFollowing the fatal shooting of Cynthia Trevillion near the Morse Red Line stop in October, concerned residents contacted MASK about violence in Rogers Park.

Violence in Rogers Park within the past few months has caused residents to call upon Mothers Against Senseless Killings (MASK), an anti-violence campaign.

With the frequency of crime in Rogers Park, some students have concerns regarding their safety on and around campus. There were 873 violent crimes reported in Campus Safety’s jurisdiction since 2013 as of November, The PHOENIX reported.

Jacqueline James, a sophomore neuroscience major, said she’s scared to walk back from work late at night.

“I get off of work at 11 [p.m.] sometimes because I work at bopNgrill and I have to walk down a badly lit street,” James said. “Sometimes I have no choice but to do that.”

James, 19, said she fears being approached because assault situations can escalate quickly.

“Assault is something that happens within a matter of seconds,” James said.

MASK was formed in 2015 in response to a shooting in Englewood, known to be one of Chicago’s most dangerous neighborhoods. The organization aims to build stronger communities through reducing violence and food and housing insecurity, according to its founder, Tamar Manasseh.

Manasseh said she formed the group to protect her children and build safer communities.  

“Instead of being reactive, I wanted to be proactive,” Manasseh said.

Now, the group has been invited to protect Rogers Park, home of Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus. Manasseh said the group expanded to Rogers Park when residents flooded the group with emails and phone messages requesting help to spread anti-violence awareness.  

“We don’t go anywhere unless we’re called and invited in,” Manasseh said.

MASK officially expanded to Rogers Park in November 2017, following the shootings of a 15-year-old boy and 64-year-old Cynthia Trevillion, which both occurred Oct. 13, 2017.

Trevillion, a teacher at the Chicago Waldorf School on West Loyola Avenue, was fatally struck as she was walking near the Morse Red Line stop with her husband. Trevillion was shot in the head and neck, according to CPD.

Samantha Aguilar, a sophomore biology major, said the shooting of Trevillion surprised her because she thought violent crimes in Rogers Park were rare.

“It shocked me because I usually regard Rogers Park as being a safe area especially because there is a huge proportion of students who live here,” Aguilar said.

Aguilar, 19, said she thinks the group’s presence in Rogers Park will help prevent further cases of assault against women on campus.

“I feel like [MASK] would help with issues where female students are being assaulted on campus,” Aguilar said.

The group wants to improve the relationships between residents by helping them communicate better with one another to prevent crime from happening.

“Chicago is a city full of neighborhoods, but no one’s neighborly,” Manasseh said. “I don’t want neighbors to be afraid to say ‘hi’ and ‘how are you.’”

Manasseh said the group offers an informational orientation which teaches residents how to combat violence in neighborhoods.

Jennile O’Connor, a first-year business management major, said she supports the group’s expansion to Rogers Park because the campaign’s presence will bring anti-violence awareness to the community.

“A group that spreads their anti-violence message can help you learn more about how to help others and how to protect them,” O’Connor said.

O’Connor, 18, said the group will provide an extra step to staying safe on campus, especially for women.

“Any environment that you’re in, especially as a female, you have to be conscious of what you’re doing,” O’Connor said. “You have to assume the worst because you never know what’s going to happen.”

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