Chicago’s West Side neighborhood is often in the news for its high rate of crime. There have been 32 homicides in the neighborhood this year, according to data collected by the Chicago Police Department.
Driving through the neighborhood, one can see the physical impact the violence has taken on the community through the years. Buildings where businesses once thrived now sit vacant. Homes where families were raised now are boarded up. Children and adults travel in groups to make themselves less easy targets for criminals.
But a deeper look into the community will reveal people doing positive things to try and turn around their neighborhood’s violent image. People who make it their business to try and save as many people from the vicious cycle of crime, one person at a time.
Rev. Charles Brown has been the pastor at his small church for the past 15 years. He holds a Ph.D. in community psychology. He is a professor at East West University. And he is an Austin native.
Brown tirelessly works with people in his neighborhood to help them find an escape from the violence and show the world there is more to Austin than the headlines of murder. Recently Brown has taken on a role as a Scout Master for the neighborhood’s Boy Scout Troop.
“I really want to be able to say I made a difference, that I made a difference in someone’s life,” Brown said. “To look back, to see where I was able to help somebody who was going down the wrong road or the wrong path. I was able to steer a person who didn’t know what they were going to do, how they were going to make it, and now they’re in a position to help someone else.”