In 2012, Chicago, Ill., had more homicides than any other U.S. city, with 503 deaths, surpassing even New York City, which has three times the population. In the same year, Chicago police officers seized more than 7,400 guns, approximately three times more than were seized in New York.
Engelwood, a neighborhood in Chicago, is considered to be the most dangerous and violent area in the city. Many of its residents have been personally affected by rampant gun violence and worry about raising their families in such a dangerous environment.
Family medicine physician Dr. Rachael Ross recently visited Engelwood to talk with residents about their experiences and to meet Tameka Lawson, the executive director of I Grow Chicago, a nonprofit organization working to provide a safe haven for children and at-risk community members through their sustainable farming and educational programs.
One such program, which Tameka runs personally, is a free yoga class, which she says helps people become more mindful and gain control over their impulses – to act instead of react. She explains that by learning to take a moment to breathe through the stress of what’s happening around you, you can start to make better decisions for yourself as well as for the people around you.
“We’re empowering people to do better for themselves,” Tameka says.
To learn more about I Grow Chicago and donate to their efforts, please visit IGrowChicago.org.