JUDY WOODRUFF: In the aftermath of high-profile
shootings in Gilroy, California, and Brooklyn, New York, it’s worth noting that, every day,
guns are used to kill roughly 100 Americans, injure hundreds more, and, across the country,
gun violence affects the lives of millions. John Yang focuses on the deaths of two particular
woman in Chicago last weekend. JOHN YANG: Judy, even in Chicago, which has
been plagued by gun violence for years, last weekend stands out: 48 people shot, eight
of them fatally. Among the dead were 26-year-old Chantel Grant
and Andrea Stoudemire, who was 35. Each of the women had four children. The youngest had just turned 1-year-old. They were on a busy street corner in Chicago’s
South Side where moms and kids have gathered for the last five summers, transforming a
corner with a history of violence into a safe space. They’re part of group is called MASK, Mothers
and Men Against Senseless Killings. It’s the brainchild of Tamar Manasseh. We visited her in 2016 on the very corner
where Chantel Grant and Andrea Stoudemire were killed. And Tamar joins us now from Chicago. Tamar, it’s so good to talk to you again. I just am sorry it is under these circumstances. Just start by telling us about Chantel and
Andrea. I know you knew Chantel better than Andrea. But tell us about them. TAMAR MANASSEH, Founder, Mothers and Men Against
Senseless Killings: OK, first off, MASK, we are moms who occupy a corner. We don’t have a membership. It’s not like that. If you show up on that corner, you show up
to dinner, you bring your kids, they show up to play, paint faces, jump rope, play hopscotch,
then, yes, we are there, all momming together. And so as far as them being members or not,
because there has been a lot of discussion about that, is neither here nor there, because
Chantel was someone who would bring her kids to the corner and mom and just — she would
just play with them and hang out with them, because that is what we do on that corner. And she was a loving and patient mom. She was a good mom. And Andrea, she had older children, so we
didn’t see her in our space as much, but we saw her around the neighborhood every day. And she was fiercely protective of the young
women in the neighborhood. And there was certainly a way that she thought
the young women should have been treated, that women should be respected. JOHN YANG: Was Chantel’s children with her
that night? TAMAR MANASSEH: No, no. Chantel was killed after our work hours. And I don’t remember her being out that day. But the thing is, I think that we are getting
hung up on that. In certain neighborhoods, it has just become
expected for people to be murdered if they are out of their house at a certain time. If you are out of your home after it gets
dark, and you get murdered, then it is your fault. It is not the murderer. It is your fault, because you shouldn’t have
been there in the first place, because you made a bad choice coming out, because you
need to make better choices, that you were around the wrong people, because people in
poor neighborhoods can’t be out at a certain time, because our murders become our fault. I mean, that is a major problem for us. And none of us are the better for it. JOHN YANG: The police have not arrested anyone
yet. They were saying, the police say that they
believed that these two women were not the target of the shooter, that a man who was
wounded was the target. Do you go along with that? TAMAR MANASSEH: No, I don’t. I don’t. That sounds like, once again, victim-blaming,
because you were around — women who are poor and live in a poor neighborhood were near
a poor black man who lives in the same neighborhood. Then he was the target. That is why they got shot. No. Shooters shoot who they want to shoot. That is what they do. They shot two mothers on a site where mothers
come every day to feel safe, every day to bring their kids to, to play, to actually
have a summer, to have a childhood, in a place where it is very hard to do that. They killed mothers there. And so I don’t want to hear anything about
a man. I don’t want to hear anybody deflecting or
anything, any of this diversionary conversation, because that is not it. People often look the other way when women
are murdered in poor neighborhoods, because they just pass it off as, oh, they were around
gangbangers. No. No one should be dying there. Somebody has to take responsibility for this. That is why we started a reward fund, a GoFundMe
to raise reward money three days ago. We were just trying to raise $5,000. We have raised $22,000 in three days, because
people are tired of being tired. And women are tired of being blamed for how
we are treated or mistreated. It is no more — a black woman who is murdered
in the ghetto, it is no more her fault for being shot because she was poor than it is
for a woman being raped because of what she was wearing. JOHN YANG: Since this shooting, you and the
other mothers have been back out on that street corner. Has there been fear and apprehension, or has
what happened given you greater determination? TAMAR MANASSEH: It has given us greater determination,
I mean, but it is fear and apprehension for other people in the community, and I don’t
blame them. And reclaim anything. We are not reclaiming anything. We never ceded our ownership of that. We are not going to let some kids with guns
and behavior problems ruin what we have done, make us scared. We are not going to do that. Why should we have to leave? Why should we have to be afraid? We didn’t kill those women. We didn’t kill them. We didn’t kill those mothers. We didn’t do that. So why should we have to be afraid? Why should the people who work hard every
day, who live good lives, why should we be afraid to live in the world that we create? Why? Why? JOHN YANG: You are soldiering on. You are working forward. You are talking about investing in the community. You just — it is a bittersweet week, losing
these two mothers on Friday night. And then, last night, you opened up a new
pizza restaurant, Peace of Pizza — P-E-A-C-E. TAMAR MANASSEH: Yes. JOHN YANG: This is going to help fund your
operations. What is that money going to allow to you do? What are you going to be able to do with that
money? TAMAR MANASSEH: Actually, we’re building a
school, a high school, out of shipping containers — actually, a community resource center out
of shipping containers. And each one of those shipping containers
will be retrofitted as a classroom and as a dining haul. And last year, Chicago Public Schools closed
down all of the public high schools in an impoverished area. And so it created a vacuum. And so we had all of these kids who didn’t
go to school, not dropped out, but they never actually went to high school. So we wanted to find something for them to
do all day. And if we are out during the summer, but the
kids don’t go back to school in September because they don’t have a school to go to,
that means we can’t go back indoors either. So we had to think about, what could we do
to fill that gap? So we decided to create this community resource
center/school, where kids could come and get an education, where they would still have
educational opportunities available to them. JOHN YANG: Tamar Manasseh, Mothers and Men
Against Senseless Killings in Chicago, trying to make Chicago safe one street corner at
a time, thanks so much. TAMAR MANASSEH: Thank you.