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Pullman Playground Built Amid a Newfound Peace

Sherman Scullark, a member of the Risky Road gang faction, reached out Detective Vivian Williams to let her know how tired he was of the violence marring Pullman, according to a recent Tribune story. Kids didn't play outside and they knew not to go to the basketball courts, a hotspot for rival gang shootings. He sought her help to call a truce. A year later, the Risky Road gang faction and the Manic Fours faction were building a playground alongside volunteers and community residents.

Scullark's next request of Detective Williams was an introduction to former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who now serves as managing director of Chicago CRED, an anti-gun violence organization focused on reducing the city's number of homicides and shootings. Duncan told the Tribune the solution to Chicago's gun violence doesn't start with the police, but with the likely perpetrators of violence.

"No one's winning now. The police aren't winning. Guys in the street aren't winning," Duncan said of the city's shootings. 

By supplying them with a job, pay, opportunities to earn their GED and emotional support, the organization aims to curb violence. Founded in 2016, the program serves about 100 men in the Roseland, North Lawndale, West Garfield Park and Englewood neighborhoods.

"We can't just arrest our way out of it. We can't incarcerate our way out of it. We have to give guys a pathway," Duncan said. 

Like Bryant King, a Pullman native who's been involved with Chicago CRED since May. Taking a break from lifting bags of concrete, King described how the program has helped him realize his passion for landscaping. Now he's working with the group to start his own business. 

"You can change," King said. "The violence can stop. And we're an example right now."

This is a post related to the Street Outreach, Support Services and Jobs strategy of the Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities. 

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