ALL Photos By- Deshaun “Trig” Adams
The CPD and Chicago’s youth. Most people won’t speak on the problems within the relationships these two share. The cycle of misunderstanding from both parties continues to go on unresolved, but that is soon to change. One visionary, Sally Hazelgrove, is working to improve the relationship between the youth and police through peaceful events. As founder of Crushers Club, Hazelgrove hosts “Peace With Police Barbecues” every Friday to unite the community, but specifically to bring the police and youth closer together.
Hazelgrove founded Crushers Club in 2013 to act as the biggest gang alternative in Chicago. The club gives youth the opportunity to express themselves in a safe and comfortable environment. This growing club offers boxing and music programs to those within the Englewood community. Aside from learning the skills of each program, the youth learn fundamentals that will help them grow as people. Fundamentals such as discipline, respect, ownership, and love are taught every day.
Ivry Hall, who began as a youth boxer and is now an instructor, talked about what Crushers Club means to him. “I came up here and Sally asked me if I wanted to fight. I said sure. I came and knocked some dude out sleep, and ever since then she been like attached to me. Then my mother passed away and that’s what motivated me to keep coming. I got a lot of stress off. I honestly feel like this is home. This is a family. I don’t talk to a lot people in my family, but this here feel like a family.”
“Peace With Police Barbecues” features off-duty cops and those within the community coming to together like a family would at a fourth of July barbecue. The atmosphere is relaxed and those in attendance are able to talk to one another casually. Hazelgrove discussed why she started these barbecues. “It’s just for everyone to see how valuable they are. We are here to serve them. I always say a good leader is a server. I’m not here to have people serve me. I’m here to serve my children. I also try to bring law enforcement in because I feel like they both have a lot in common. I feel like they’re both pawns on a bigger scheme. They are both highly stereotyped and undervalued.”
Chicago police officer Luther Haynes has been with Crusher Club for 10 years. He discussed why he thinks this event is important to the community. “Usually when people see the police it’s because something has happened and they call us. So usually things aren’t in a happy situation. So, at least here it’s a stress-free way for us to talk, communicate, and learn about each other so they’re not afraid of us and we get a better understanding of the citizens we serve.”
Food, laughter, and fun are the focus of these barbecues. No matter the weather, the event will continue even if it has to move indoors because the event is so important to the community.
Peace between the youth and police is one of the first steps to bringing real peace to Chicago. With Hazelgrove, the youth of Crushers Club, and sponsors, the Englewood area has hope for a brighter future. To donate and support this wonderful organization click on this link https://www.crushersclub.org/support-us/.
This event is made possible by the Chicago Fund of the Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities.
By Triniti Maye, Freshman, Saint Xavier University