THIS YEAR’S PRAYER ON THE 9 WILL FOCUS ON YOUNG VOICES
5/16/2018, noon | Updated on 5/16/2018, noon
This Year’s Prayer On The 9 Will Focus On Young Voices
BY KATHERINE NEWMAN
Pastor John Hannah and the New Life Covenant Southend Church are preparing for this year’s annual Prayer on the 9 initiative. This year Hannah is calling for the congregation and the entire Chicago community to March and Pray For Our Lives starting at 11 a.m. on May 19 at the corner of 79th St. and Greenwood Ave.
The annual event has evolved over the years and is now organized to bring attention to the violence in Chicago and to inspire social change. This year, Hannah expects anywhere from three to four thousand people.
“79th St., in the urban community, is known as The 9, so that’s where the name comes from. Previously, we would get people to just line up and pray, that’s how we first started it. Then one year, we brought attention to those who had lost a loved one to the violence of this city. We asked people to bring pictures of their loved ones because we didn’t want to forget those who lost their lives senselessly,” said Hannah.
This year’s event is specifically targeted towards the youth of Chicago. Hannah was inspired by the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland FL, where a mass shooting occurred in Feb., and their courage to speak out at the March For Our Lives protest in Washington D.C. earlier this year.
“The whole point now is to allow the young people to speak, to allow their faces to be seen, and to allow their voices to be heard the same way that they screamed loud in Washington D.C. There were two young men that spoke in Washington D.C from Chicago and I wanted Chicago to even hear their voices again,” said Hannah.
D’Angelo McDade was one of two Chicago students who spoke at the March For Our Lives in Washington D.C. in March and he will be present at this year’s Prayer on the 9.
“One of the purposes that I do this is that, while I do see a decline in the numbers of violence, even with that decline, I’m still not comfortable and I still want to draw attention to what I think is crazy as far as what we have to deal with and live with in this city,” said Hannah.
Throughout the day, Hannah hopes that young people of Chicago can have their voices heard.
“The long-term effect is, number one, that we can let kids know that somebody does hear you. If you talk to young people, they say ‘nobody listens to me’ so this event will validate them and let them know that someone does hear you and that yes, you can be a part of the change,” said Hannah.
For more information and to register for the event, visit prayeronthe9.com.