Posted on October 24, 2013

Rev. Al Sharpton Defends Mission in Chicago, Might Bring ‘Diddy’ Here

Wendell Hutson, DNA Info, October 23, 2013

The Rev. Al Sharpton will spend time in a West Side apartment and the streets of Chicago in coming months hoping to shed light on gun violence and what people in the neighborhoods are doing to combat it.

He also might bring some famous friends with him, including Sean “Diddy” Combs, he said.

But not everyone is excited about the 59-year-old Baptist minister’s plans.

“He came here with no resources [to combat gun violence]. I don’t understand. Why is he here if he did not bring resources?” said Harold Davis, an entrepreneur and community activist on the South Side, during an interview Tuesday on WBGX (1570 AM). “He said he is coming to Chicago to put a spotlight on gun violence, but that spotlight already existed in Chicago.”

Davis was one of three community activists who blasted comments Sharpton made Sunday at a news conference at the Sankofa Cultural Arts & Business Center in the Austin neighborhood.

Sharpton said it’s time for local activists to “stop acting like gangbangers themselves and stop fighting over turfs” while trying to stem gun violence in Chicago, according to the Sun-Times.

Those remarks did not sit well with the Rev. Anthony Williams, pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in south suburban Robbins.

“I am not a gangbanger, nor do I hang with gangbangers,” Williams said. “I have nothing personal against Rev. Sharpton, but brother Sharpton coming to Chicago is not going to change anything.”

Sharpton told DNAinfo that his comments were taken out of context.

“I was not referring to any one group, but to all of us, including myself, when I said we all need to stop acting like gangbangers who protect their turfs from others,” Sharpton said. “We cannot act like this toward each other, even if we do disagree. I want to meet with any activists willing to work with me on this problem of gun violence.”

Sharpton plans to commute to Chicago from his New York home once a week, and he could return to the city Thursday. {snip}