The Free Root Operation was founded in 2015 by Eva Maria Lewis, then only in high school. She sought to intercept poverty induced gun violence by investing in her community and creating resources that were missing. With an unstoppable drive and vision to create change in her city, Eva went to work. She began grassroots organizing the South Shore neighborhood in order to build connections with community members and understand how to best serve them. She used her network to grow FRO’s impact, team, and programmatic efforts. Since its inception, our organization has not been a matter of if or when, but how.
We know what it means to navigate systemic obstacles just to survive because we are from the communities we serve. We know that gun violence is a result of a history's worth of negligence, gaslighting, and fatigue. We know that we are more than the news headlines portray us to be. That's why we are in this fight: because we believe in people.
When we envision the Chicago we know it can be, we envision accessible food, education, access to leisure, health services, and love on every block. It is the encouragement from people like you, and our growing community, that propels us to continue to work toward this vision of oasis.
LET'S CHANGE THE NARRATIVE
Preventing and intercepting gun violence
In 2020, 776 Chicagoans were murdered. This is the second-highest homicide rate the city has seen in the past decade. A majority of these murders were a result of intercommunal gun violence. This means that these deaths were preventable.
With the onset of COVID-19, underserved communities faced even greater challenges in getting the resources they needed. This undeniably had an impact on the rise in violence we saw last year. We are committed to investing in our communities in order to create sustainable, effective resources. We believe that through this, we can help prevent gun violence and decrease this number.
We invite you to join FRO in honoring these lives by lifting up their names and bringing awareness to their passing in the pursuit that their lives not be lost in vain.