There are around 12,000 murders committed with guns in the U.S. each year; on an average day, seven children are killed by guns in the U.S. In Chicago the problem is particularly acute: 390 people were shot and killed last year in the city (more than 2,220 were injured in shootings), and many of them were teenagers. Spike Lee's latest movie, Chi-Raq, is set in Chicago, and follows the efforts by a group of women to curb the spate of gun violence in their hometown by going on a "sex strike." Increase the peace...or else.
Tuesday Spike premiered Chi-Raq in New York, followed by a march to raise awareness of the scourge of gun violence in the country. The thought-provoking film hits theaters today. Spike's views on the issue are pretty clear, but we want to know what you think.
Today Complex is launching a beta for a new polling device we call "ROAR." Unlike passive polls, ROAR is designed to channel the power of social media and technology to let your voice be heard to the actual stakeholders that matter on that issue.
Roar is designed to channel the power of social media to let your voice be heard to the actual stakeholders that matter.
With one ROAR you will reach up to 25 stakeholders in various ways—not only on social media (Twitter and Facebook) but by email and even fax as well.
For the inaugural ROAR, Spike Lee granted us access to the actual text of the script of one of the most powerful scenes from Chi-Raq wherein Father Mike Corridan (based on the the real-life Rev. Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina Church), played by John Cusack, eulogizes the untimely death of a little girl killed by a stray bullet in the gang war central the film's plot.
Read the stirring text of that culminating funeral speech below, then answer the question "Will gun violence in America ever end given the NRA's stranglehold on policy?" Your vote will be automatically transmitted—via social media, email, and fax—to key stakeholders on this issue, from politicians to the actual executive leadership of the NRA. Roar!
The Funeral Scene From Chi-Raq, as performed by John Cusack (written by Kevin Willmott and Spike Lee, with assistance from John Cusack and Father Michael Pfleger)
I am going to speak about a life today. An important life in our community. A life that ends life. The life of a gun.
This handgun was born in a factory in Springfield, Massachusetts in April of this year.
This gun began its professional career when it was purchased by “Big Tony” from Chicago at a Indiana Gun Show using a fake Indiana ID.
A Chicago gang bought the gun and many firearms for "Big Money" for their work in the underground economy.
The underground economy exists because banks and lending institutions rarely loan money to poor people. When asked to loan money to the poor they say, "No! No! No! No! No! Sorry but no loan."
Thus, drugs are the currency of the underground economy. Individual sales are strictly cash and carry, requiring guns for protection and retaliation. The gun found purpose. Drug houses with animated money signs popping up around them. Drug houses are banks. Why do you rob drug houses? Because that's where the loot is.
Suburban and wealthy customers, the children of the lenders and bank officials purchase narcotics.
They are not subject to police scrutiny like poor people are because these people are not “thugs.” They instead need rehab.
However, their children admire the thug outlaw culture but do so from the safety of their suburban neighborhoods. No, this gun wouldn’t get caught dead there!
No, this gun found work at the only place hiring in the hood!
this gun found work at the only place hiring in the hood!
This gun is the principal player in a reality TV urban murder show, which can be seen at 5 and 10 PM every night, Eyewitness 7 News.
That’s when this gun met our child Patty. No, things don't look good. Our Patty is gone. Politicians are in the pocket of the NRA. The economy has abandoned the poor. Gang members are more concerned with ego, street cred and greed than human life. A code of silence keeps us paralyzed. Violence reigns. No, things don't look good. Patty's become part of America's wardrobe where it's easier to get a gun than a computer. Sirens and gunshots are our soundtrack.
Yellow police tape, teddy bears, and balloons are the National Memorial of our neighborhoods. But this is not new. It hasn't looked good for a long time. It didn't look good in a Birmingham church when four little girls were blown to death. It didn't look good when Medgar was dying in his driveway. It didn't look good when Malcolm was shot down onstage. It didn't look good when Martin Luther King stood on the balcony outside Room 306 and at 6:03 was taken from us. No, it doesn't look good, not when Patty was lost on a busy street, with folks going to work and school, with cars passing by. How is it possible that no witnesses have come forward? What makes you a target is not the shooter, but rather the community that surrenders to fear and becomes silent! It doesn't look good when we here at St. Sabina must put out a $5,000 bounty for information leading to the arrest of Patty's murderer or any murderer! And those that shoot our children down go back home and watch SportsCenter then eat a Whopper and fries and act like nuthin' happened—no it DOESN’T LOOK GOOD! With things looking like they do, looking so bad—seems like our enemies are just too strong, the obstacles just too large, looks like the Pharaohs will keep us in Bondage Forever!
But Brothers and Sisters, I've come here to tell ya'll today that early one mornin', 2000 years ago, Jesus got up from the grave and shouted to you and me and all humanity, IT AIN'T WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE! I've come here to tell the devil and all his two legged helpers—it ain’t what it looks like! We will not allow this self-inflicted genocide to continue. You cannot murder our children! Patty will have justice! I know it looks bad, but it ain't over, Jesus rose up from the grave and because he did. Hope wins! Justice wins! Peace wins! Goodness wins! Righteousness wins! Love wins! Love wins! Love wins.
Congratulations! Your vote has now been amplified to the following people: Barack Obama, president of the United States; Hillary Clinton, Democratic presidential candidate; Bernie Sanders, Democratic presidential candidate; Donald Trump, Republican presidential candidate; Allan Cors, NRA president, Wayne LaPierre, NRA executive vice president and CEO; Pete Brownell, NRA 1st vice president; Richard Childress, NRA 2nd vice president; Chris Cox, executive director, NRA Institute for Legislative Action; Stephen Aaron, NRA lobbyist; Brandi Pensoneau, NRA lobbyist; Michael Williams, NRA lobbyist; Jennifer Baker, director of public affairs, NRA Institute for Legislative Action; Chuck Schumer, U.S. Senator; Chris Murphy, U.S. Senator; Richard Blumenthal, U.S. Senator; Nancy Pelosi, minority leader, U.S. House of Representatives; Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago; Jason Rzepka, Director of Cultural Engagement, Everytown for Gun Safety; Ladd Everitt, Communications Director, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence; Wesley Lowery, journalist; Anderson Cooper, journalist; Rachel Maddow, journalist; George Stephanopolous, journalist