The Chicago Tribune recently had a forum hosted by WVON's Cliff Kelley, and there were no major headlines in the days after the forum, like many others that have put any kind of dent in the continued rise in Chicago Violence. Is one reason that major media seems to make more of the headlines of calling in the National Guard than they do to local community groups who have identified solutions "on the ground" that could truly help stop the rise in Chicago violence, shootings, and killings. It's not possible that major media or various leaders actually enjoy reporting on more violence and death than they do examining and promoting what somew of those who actually participate anmd are at risk for the violence, as real ways to get them away from the gang, drug, and illegal street economies that are employing and killing our people !?
I had the chance to meet briefly on Sunday with my longtime friend, religious leader and activist Father Michael Pfleger of The Community Of St Sabina. We were both attending a charity basketball game in the St. Sabine gym, and of course took the time to step aside and talk about the street violence and what we could do better at stopping the increase in those who partcipate and are most at risk for being participants. One of the things that we ABSOLUTELY AGREE that drives most of the violence is the fact that far too many of our young people and adullts have found the gang, drug, and illegal street economies as the source to provide an income for themselves and their familes, and the battle and tensions rise over those economies then result in acts of senseless violence, shootings and death.
Father Pfleger and I talked about how crime continues to increase at time when the Chicago Police has continually offered new ways of increasing and deploying police in what they describe as scietfically targeted areas to decrease crime. Father Mike and I agreed on the facts that many young people and others have somehow lost their social consiousness, respect for life, and respect for law enforcement that has been clearly shown in the number of deadly confrontation between heavily armed street offenders and police with those in the street showing absolutely NO FEAR of facing death in their attacks on law enforcement who threaten their battle to survive economically through their various illegal street operations. With that Father Pfleger and I agreed that the presence of The National Guard would only increase the tensions with law enforcement and the streets and would only set the stage for even more potential deadly armed confrontations with our young people and innocent people being killed!
During the recent National Action Network Convention and 12 Month National Action Plan launched by Rev. Al Sharpton, Wallace "Gator" Bradley and I were lobbying Chicago's Warren Ballentine, Jeff Johnson of B.E.T. and others on the significance of adopting community gardens in urban areas of the country that could deter our youth and others this summer from being drawn into the illegal street economies as their way to be employed and thus help save thousands of lives by the creation of these Green jobs! This week, in addition to Father Mike, I met on this Summer Green Jobs concept with Ronald Holt (father of Blair Holt) and others who are actively involved in crime intervention and prevention work, who all must recognize that the DESPERATE ECONOMIC CONDITIONS facing urban youth and families force good people into bad situations trying to survive, and our remedies to stop the violence has to be more than debating new Chicago Poilce and the potential of The National Guard, without dealing with the economic and social conscious issues!!
As predicted, ALL of Chicago's media is focused on the latest proposal by two Illinois State Reps, John Fritchey and LaSahwn Ford for consideration of The National Guard patrolling Chicago streets to stop crime -- As Chicago's Mayor Daley, Governor Quinn, Jody Weis and others are going to asked yet again about another law enforcement increase., Can we for FOR ONCE PLEASE ask the "economic" question of whether or not Chicago could take hundreds if not thousands of our young people OUT of the illegal street economies this summer for jobs in life threatening works, OR using public and private funding to create summer green jobs by creating community gardens in targeted Chicago empty lots.
The Chicago Tribune, CNN, other major media and others who keep asking for "solutions," WHY keep asking and then when you get them not bring it up for major discussion?? There has been far more people who have supported this community gardens concept than two State Reps who called for The National Guard, so WHY are we focusing on one and not the other?