Chicago’s homicide rate is more than double that of New York City, which hasn’t had more than 600 felony murders since 2007. Between those years in the areas of Chicago’s South, Southwest, and West sides—which are predominantly African-American and Latino— almost as many youth alone have been murdered. The Chicago Reporter takes an in depth look at the impact of these startling statistics.

Since 2008, more than 530 youth have been killed in Chicago with nearly 80 percent of the homicides occurring in 22 African-American or Latino community areas on the city’s South, Southwest and West sides.

“Pour out your heart like water

For the lives of your children

Let justice roll down like waters

Righteousness like an everflowing stream.”

So sang a soaring chorus of voices—young and old—inside Hyde Park Union Church on Nov. 6. The songs were interrupted by a somber litany of names: Chicago youth killed since the school year started in 2008. The event was called “Urban Dolorosa,” a commemoration held at five different churches around Chicago in November casting the Biblical mourning of Mary for her son in the context of contemporary youth violence.

The scene is a painful and all-too-familiar reminder of the youth violence epidemic that has gripped Chicago, the home of more youth homicides than any other American city. Chicago has a homicide rate more than double those of New York City and Los Angeles.

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