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Al Sharpton plans to spotlight people fighting violence in Chicago

The Rev. Al SharptSankofCultural Arts   Business Center South Austneighborhood talks Sunday about his plans spend time Chicago put

The Rev. Al Sharpton, at the Sankofa Cultural Arts & Business Center in the South Austin neighborhood, talks Sunday about his plans to spend time in Chicago to put a spotlight on people who are helping to reduce violence in the city. U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis (second from right) listens to Sharpton's remarks. | Jon Seidel~Sun-Times

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Updated: November 22, 2013 6:26AM



The Rev. Al Sharpton said Sunday it’s time for local activists to “stop acting like gangbangers themselves and stop fighting over turfs” while trying to stem gun violence in Chicago.

The fiery civil-rights leader made the comment at the Sankofa Cultural Arts & Business Center in the South Austin neighborhood as he prepares to spend more time here, joined by Martin Luther King III.

But Sharpton cautioned, “I’m not moving to Chicago.”

“I’m taking an apartment, and we’re going to be in at least once a week,” Sharpton said Sunday, following up on a plan he announced during a visit to the city in July.

King’s father, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., rented a West Side apartment in the 1960s to highlight the city’s segregation.

Sharpton, founder of the National Action Network, said he’ll be doing his radio and TV shows here, and he’s planning to talk about “what is going on, on the ground.” He said his goal is to put a spotlight on the people who are helping to reduce the violence.

“Gun violence is not a Chicago problem,” Sharpton said. “It’s a national problem. And because there has been so much in Chicago covered, we need to tell the other story. About the churches. And the group of parents. And those that have been ex-gang leaders. And others that have turned some of this around. So that 2013 began looking better than 2012.”

He said it’s time for leaders in the community to put egos aside.

“How can we talk to the young folk if they see all of this bickering?” Sharpton said.

Email: jseidel@suntimes.com

Twitter: @SeidelContent



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