CHICAGO (CBS) — A woman and a Chicago police officer enjoyed a friendly impromptu dance duet in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood on Wednesday.
Bringing the community together with songs like “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now,” is all part of the plan, says the event’s organizer, George “Jody” Bady.
“Positive loitering,” he calls it. “Where we are for those two hours, we make it a safe haven.”
Founder of Chicago’s ‘Stop the Violence’, Bady tells CBS 2 he holds music events on Wednesdays at Madison and Central during the summer months, bringing positive experiences to what he calls “troubled areas.”
For Bady, the mission to offer support and hope is personal. “It all started when my oldest son got killed in 2010 due to gun violence,” he says. “I didn’t want other parents to go through what I went through.”
Stop the Violence music-inspired events on Wednesdays serve as a bridge to the organization. “The music gets their attention. It’s a party,” says Bady. Once he connects with people, he offers food and connections to local social services if needed.
Bady says Officer Jose Sanchez of the 15th District pulled up in his squad car on Wednesday and said they were playing his favorite song. “Everybody loved it,” says Bady of the crowd’s reaction to watching the officer dance.
“Most people look at police officers and think he is going to lock someone up.” Bady says a positive exchange “changes the hearts” of both officers and residents.
Bady’s video of Wednesdays encounter, posted on Facebook, has been viewed close to 320,000 times.
In discussing the impact of Stop the Violence events on members of the community, Bady says, “We show them love. We break down barriers. We build a relationship with them. We give them resources so they can get help.”
On June 29, Stop the Violence is hosting a gathering at Hubbard Park from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM. Stop the Violence’s next music event at Central and Madison will take place on July 11.
Watch the full video above.
(Video credit: George Bady)