THE FILM

THE FILM

THIS IS

OUR WAR

Chicago America’s Hidden War pulls back the curtain to expose the pervasive genocidal-like behavior, explain what birthed and contributed to this war and why so little is done to stop it, and ultimately inspires a clear path toward change. It’s time for us all to unite and take a stand, because this is no longer America’s Hidden War. This is Our War.

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GET INVOLVED

GET INVOLVED

ENLIST

YOUR HELP

It’s time to turn apathy into empathy as we fight the war on violence with compassion and love.

STORIES

STORIES

OUR CITY

OUR PEOPLE

Watch the untold and often forgotten stories of the people in Chicago.

UNSUNG HEROES

Donovan

Price

UNSUNG HEROES

David

Figueroa

UNSUNG HEROES

Toccara

Hayes

UNSUNG HEROES

Matt

DeMateo

CHICAGO CRIME 2020

As of November 2020*

COMING SOON

TO A THEATER NEAR YOU

MENTORING PROGRAMS

So many of the children of Chicago feel as if they’ve been forgotten. Of course monetary donations help, but a personal connection goes much further, creating a positive lasting impact on their lives and yours. When you donate to our Mentoring Programs, 100% of the money goes towards professional mentors who create meaningful relationships with the children of Chicago and make a real, lasting connection that inspires hope for their future.

THE AFTER SCHOOL FUND

In the film, we quickly learn that many children in Chicago have nowhere to go after school. 100% of your After School Fund donation will go towards the Youth Guidance Fund, New Life Center, and Project Hood, to help improve after school centers in Chicago and help build new ones, for a brighter, safer future for the children.

untold stories

Hear the real stories of Chicago.
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unsung heroes

Learn more about the people making
a real difference in Chicago.
Donovan Price

More than a Pastor, Donovan Price is a “Street Pastor,” acting as a first responder and victims advocate to families of gun violence victims, doing whatever he can to make the experience less traumatic.

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David Figueroa

Chicago native David Figueroa is the founder of Second Chance Renovation, a construction company that hires individuals who are released from prison and are trying to get their life back on track.

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Toccara Hayes

Toccara Hayes is a motivational inspirational speaker who created a nonprofit organization called MUTE Models, which focuses on mental health, healing traumatic experiences, and emotional wounds.

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Matt DeMateo

For over 20 years, Matt DeMateo has worked at New Life Centers, which connects youth and young adults with Christ and community through mentoring, education, sports, street outreach, and food distribution.

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Donovan Price, also known as the “Pastor of Chicago,”is the innermost person to the violence in Chicago. He was born and raised on the South Side, and currentlylives only a few blocks from where he grew up. From anearly age, he was involved with the church, and believes, “God has asked for my life to become one with the city.”

Donovan is more than a Pastor, he’s a “Street Pastor,”acting as a first responder and victims advocate to families of gun violence victims. No matter what part of Chicago, no matter what time it is, or what the situation, when a person is shot and/or killed, he’s on the scene immediately after the shots are fired, helping the familywith the aftermath.

APATHY IS A BULLET

He ministers to families in shock and grief, doing whatever he can to make the experience less traumatic. Whether it’s making funeral arrangements, leading prayers, or buying groceries, Donovan is a force for good in the lives of people suffering from the effects of gun violence. He sometimes continues his work with the family for years after, helpingin any way he can.

He believes that “Apathy is a bullet,” and a solution to gun violence won’t happen until we all start to love and empathize with people they haven’t met. He encourages unity, emphasizes that it takes everyone to solve the problem, not just the select few who work hard to create change.

When David Figueroa was released from prison in 2005, life wasn’t easy. He could only find a job working for a temp agency, and after six months, when it came time for the company to hire him, they chose not to. They didn’t even have the decency to tell him in person. They just called and told him to never come back. When David asked why, their response was devastating–his criminal background would be a liability for the company.

He was eventually able to get an apprenticeship through the carpenters union, but unfortunately broke his back while working in his home in 2013. He couldn’t work for nine months, and lost his seniority when he finally got back to work.

It was then that he knew it was time to start the business he once dreamed of creating years earlier, while he was fighting his case in prison. After having a conversation with his wife, he knew it was time to take the leap of faith. With two thirds of his life savings, he created Second Chance Renovation, a construction company that hires individuals who are released from prison and are trying to get their life back on track.

There’s not many
opportunities out there
for people like us.

From his own experience, David knows just how hard it is to find work, explaining, “There’s not many opportunities out there for people like us.” Oftentimes, when there are no jobs available, people who have been previously incarcerated may revert back to old habits, and end up in prison again. Which is why David stresses the importance of giving back to the community, helping people stay off the street and giving them a decent wage so they can take care of their family. Most of the time, they hire people with no experience, but are interested in the construction industry, and Second Chance Renovation pays for on the job training.

In 2021, Second Chance Renovation is focusing more on at risk youth, between 18-23 years old, who haven’t necessarily been to prison yet, but are unfortunately on that path. David will be teaming up with organizations throughout Chicago to help the younger generation move forward and create a brighter future.

Born and raised in Chicago, Toccara Hayes didn’t have an easy childhood: “I was not raised with a silver spoon in my mouth.” Her father passed away when she was 3 and her mother wasn’t always in the picture. The pain and trauma Toccara experienced growing up played a large part in shaping her into the determined person she is today.

Her experiences inspired her to become a motivational inspirational speaker, which led to starting a nonprofit organization called MUTE Models. The organization focuses on mental health, healing traumatic experiences, and emotional wounds. Toccara hosts seminars and acts as a listening ear, something she wished she had when she was growing up. The pain and trauma she went through was hard to cope with, and if she had someone that was listening to her, she feels it would have helped tremendously.

Mental health is important to Toccara because she firmly believes, “Before we can actually make a change, we have to get ourselves in order.” She is passionate about helping people work through their past traumatic experiences and heal their wounds, making sure they don’t

Before we can actually
make change, we have to
get ourselves in order.

fall back into the harmful situations they came from, and become a product of their past. She wants to make sure the community knows that there are people out there who care about them.

Toccara credits her oldest sister as being one of her biggest inspirations, giving her the strength to create change. Her oldest sister adopted her and some of Toccara’s other siblings at a very young age, working four jobs a day and attending school full time to provide for them. She describes her sister as the backbone for all her siblings, explaining that she gave her hope, and helped shape her into the optimistic, determined, person she is today.

That hope carries over into the work Toccara is doing in Chicago today. She’s hopeful for a brighter future for her city and looks forward to growing her organization and becoming a source of support to her entire community, in the hopes of creating real change on the streets of Chicago.

Ever since Matt DeMateo moved to Chicago over 20 years ago, he’s been building a movement within the community to help young people. He started running after school programs at New Life Centers 20 years ago and has been there ever since. New Life Centers connects youth and young adults with Christ and community through mentoring, education, sports, street outreach, and food distribution. They seek to empower this generation to transform the next by working in four neighborhoods in Chicago doing five different types of outreach.

Mentoring
Mentors work one on one, life on life, with young people in Chicago. With over 250 mentor matches, New Life Centers focuses on giving young people a positive role model to connect with throughout the long term mentorship program. Matt has been working with his mentor match Alex for 11 years now.

Education
New Life Centers has after school programing for 125 kids in Little Village and Humboldt Park. Since Covid-19, they have switched to eLearning, where 60 kids are participating in remote learning from New Life Centers buildings.

They seek to EMPOWER
this generation to
TRANSFORM the next

Sports
New Life Centers believes in the power of play–it is one of the most effective ways to deal with trauma. They run a little league for 325 kids and a 16-inch softball street outreach league, which has developed into a 22- team gang intervention league. They also have basketball, boxing, and running programs. Overall, New Life Centers has over 2,500 participants in their sports programming and was recently awarded the ‘Courageous use of Sport’ award in the Beyond Sport Global Awards.

Street Outreach
A team of 15 men and women respond to every shooting in Little Village within the first few minutes of the incident. The Victim Services team is immediately on the scene, going to the hospital, helping the victim, or assisting with funeral planning.

Food Distribution
Before Covid-19, New Life Centers helped feed 100 families a week. Then in April, as the pandemic grew, various people heard about what they were doing, including Barack Obama, who highlighted their work on instagram, which helped raise their profile significantly. As a result, in partnership with the Greater Chicago Food Depository, by May 1st they were feeding about 1,000 families per week. By June 1st, it increased to 6,000 families a week, about 30,000 people. In the last seven months, they’ve helped feed over half a million people.

The work that Matt does is surely heroic, but he believes that the real heroes are the people on the ground–the outreach workers helping young people on the streets, working with the community to empower the next generation.