Two Women Killed in Drive-by Shooting were Advocates against Gun Violence in their Neighborhood

(Sun Times Wire) Two women fatally shot over the weekend had spent the last two years organizing to end gun violence in their community.

Chantell Grant, 26, and mother to three young children, had worked with the group Mothers Against Senseless Killings.

Also killed was Andrea Stoudemire, 35, another dedicated member of that group, known as MASK. Stoudemire is said to have brought a strong sense of sisterhood to the other mothers, giving advice whenever she could.

Established in 2015, the organization is based at 75th Street and Stewart Avenue. They had started “occupying” that corner several years ago — hanging out, cooking out and walking the neighborhood — bringing people out to with the belief that their presence and engagement with the community alone could do some good.

The group engages the youth through counseling, providing healthy meals and finding homes for those who don’t have them.

“Chantell told her kids she was going to the store and she would be right back,” Tamar Manasseh, founder of MASK, said Monday. “She is never coming back and her kids have to live with that now.”

Just before 10 p.m. Friday, a blue SUV pulled into the 7500 block of South Stewart Avenue and fired shots into a crowd killing Grant and Stoudemire, and wounding another man.
“It is terrifying, it is heartbreaking, I haven’t slept because I am trying to figure out how we can stop this,” Manasseh said. “Who’s next? I just keep thinking, Who’s next?”

The group has started a GoFundMe campaign with the goal of raising a $5,000 reward for information “that will bring these mother killers to justice.”

Area South is still investigating. No one was in custody as of Monday afternoon, according to the Chicago Police Department.

”It’s too much around here. The older people can’t come out and sit on the porch, the kids can’t play,” said one man who was there Friday night and whose arm was grazed by a bullet.

“It’s just, wow. Everyone is scared.”

The man, sporting a bandaged arm on Monday, said he spends much of his time walking the neighborhood, trying to console people affected by gun violence. The night of the shooting, he comforted one of the women who was shot, holding her hand as she died.

It was the second drive-by shooting on that block in the past month. The night of June 25, a 23-year-old woman also was wounded. She was standing on a corner about 9 p.m. when a black vehicle drove by and someone inside opened fire, striking her in the face, back and leg, Chicago police said.

Article Org: Chicago.suntimes.com

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