Antonio Smith Jr.
Antonio Maurice Smith Jr., lovingly called “Fat Baby” and “Hamburger” loved to eat, dance to Michael Jackson songs and make people laugh. The fourth grader was on the honor roll at Hinton Elementary in Chicago, and was very smart.
On August 20th, 2014 Antonio’s life was tragically taken after he was shot in the chest, hands and arms in the Grand Crossing neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois. After being angry he was denied cake according to his family he ran out of the house. Hours later, he was gunned down by four gang members who thought he was alerting a rival gang of his presence. Antonio had no gang affiliation, although he lived in an area that was a crossing point of two rival gang factions.
Since January 2014 to date, there have been 3,816 shooting victims in Chicago neighborhoods. Street violence in Chicago has been the subject of media attention and debates regarding Black on Black Violence. The problem of street violence has also drawn the attention of film producer Spike Lee, who is developing a film about black-on-black murder in the South Side of Chicago.
Antonio’s Response aims to be a champion in combating street violence and conditions that foster it. These are our neighborhoods and our lives. We have children who represent Antonio; we all are Antonio. Unless we develop strategies that address all issues, the violence and negative attention will never end. We want to create a movement that challenges street violence across the nation at all levels, when the line continues to be crossed.