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Editor's note: This event has since been canceled because some State's Attorney staff are quarantining after COVID-19 exposure. 

KANKAKEE — The Kankakee County State’s Attorney’s Youth Advisory Board is hosting an event Saturday in hopes of working against gang and gun violence in the community.

“The Youth Field Day is an event that was brought up because of the recent events in Kankakee County,” said Rosalinda Chavez, president of the board, which is comprised of eighth-graders and high school students from school districts in the county.

One of those events was a shoot-out near the Kankakee County Courthouse that left two men dead and another man seriously wounded.

On Aug. 26, Antonio Hernandez ambushed Victor Andrade, his cousin Miguel Andrade and a 28-year-old man as the three left the courthouse following a Victor’s appearance on an unrelated case. With Hernandez a current member of the Latin Kings and Victor a former member of the Latin Kings, police say the shooting was a result of the gang’s internal struggles.

Another recent incident of note was on July 6 when 15-year-old Davarion Jones was shot dead in front of his family’s home in the 1100 block of East Merchant Street in Kankakee.

“The members of the youth advisory board saw a great need in our community because there is not enough conversation regarding youth involvement in gangs and gun misuse,” Chavez said. “As a group of youth in this community, we wanted to involve games, education and fun into the day.

“The hope for this event is that the youth will be face-to-face with ex-gang members and that they will be able to hear their testimony,” she continued. “It is important for youth to hear real-life experiences and listen to the real effects this lifestyle can lead to, all while having an exciting day packed with games.”

The Youth Field Day will be from 2 to 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Beckman Park, located at Cobb Boulevard and South Osborn Avenue in Kankakee.

Jeff Bonty is a reporter for The Daily Journal. He can be reached at jbonty@daily-journal.com and 815-937-3366.


Jeff Bonty has worked for The Daily Journal since September 1986, starting in the sports department before moving to news reporting in 2002. He's a native of Indiana and graduate of Purdue University. His email is jbonty@daily-journal.com.