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Calls for change at slain Chicago infant's funeral

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 19, 2013 at 5:20 pm •  Published: March 19, 2013

Watkins has a criminal record, and McCarthy said he is a gang member. While Watkins is cooperating with the investigation, McCarthy said there is "a lot more" help he could provide.

Several of those attending the service lamented the "code of silence" that keeps some residents from reporting crimes, cooperating with authorities or even fingering members of rival gangs who have targeted them.

A City Council member representing the area said in a booming, angry voice that the girl's death should move people to "stop killing each other."

"We can't put this on the police, we can't put this on anybody but ourselves," Alderman Willie Cochran said. "We have to make that change."

"And I want the killer to be apprehended," he said to loud applause. "Somebody's going to pay for this child being killed. Bring him forth!"

Many of those attending the funeral said they did not know the family but came to express their condolences and out of a sense of solidarity with others who are trying to keep their children safe.

"The block I live on, in the summer it's so bad over there, you can't stand outside," said 60-year-old Joann Thomas, who also lives in Woodlawn. "I got three small ones that I keep in the house all times," she said, referring to the great-grandchildren she looks after and tries to keep safe from harm.

A message written on signs that were hung on a fence along Martin Luther King Drive, where the church is located, encapsulated the community's pain.

"Mothers are not supposed to bury their children," it read.

In an especially poignant moment, the baby's grandmother, Mary Young, read a poem at the funeral echoing the calls for change.

"My neighbors of Chicago, what have thou done? You brought in the darkness and removed the sun," she said. "It's now obvious the time has come when killing one another will no longer be tolerated by anyone."