As a former volunteer and strong supporter of CeaseFire and other crime intervention and prevention groups, I am making this personal and public appeal to them all that we MUST step up and expand our direct action campaigns to focus on the desperate economic conditions that will continue to drive people into a summer of tension and more violence if we do not fight right now to create more economic solutions to address the economic problems.
We have done a lot to create the proper symbols of how important it is for our community to want to stop the violence but our collective "hands-on" experiences with people in the streets should convince us all that we have not done enough on the "substanative" results we need at the grassroots level to draw those who participate and at-risk of participating in the gang, drug, and othet illegal street economies as the only source for Black and inner city urban youth and adults to provide an income for themselves and their families.
Its not on CeaseFire alone, but Since CeaseFire currently enjoys the most media visibility in terms of stopping the violence my direct appeal is for them to take seriously the role they must now play for Mayor Daley, Chicago Police Chief Jody Weis and others that the sybolism of their words actually mean nothing when the substance of what wqe have to deal with at the grassroots level arte continued dispatching to crime intervention and prevention requests that are still rooted in the tensions created from the illegal street economic battles our people continue to face when the marches and press statements are over.
Groups like CeaseFire must not continue to allow itself to be pimped and used by local and national media, Mayor Daley, Jody Weis and others when its popular for them to be promoted as helping to stop the violence, yet many of these leaders and media do NOT offer the same coverage to the local efforts that have identified innovative ways to provide themselves with a legal income and take them away from the illegal ones whose tensions and battles continuing to create more and death.
Today, Over 1,200 members of CeaseFire and other crime intervention and prevention groups were given much media coverage and partcipation and support from Jody Weis and others in Stop The Violence marches across the city, BUT where have these leaders and media been when many of these same areas have had groups asking for public and private support to create Green Jobs this summer by using empty lots and transforming them into community gardens.?? We seem to enjoy the participation and media coverage of the marches, but why not as much coverage on the real solutions???
This is the public appeal that I made being interviewed on CNN on April 27th during its early morning show, and on this Tribune based news blog ChicagoNow.com, as well as others. I do not have an answer to questions I get as to why my CNN interview talking about "solutions" don't get repeated, posted and follow-ups as the features that are done on the acts of violence? I do not know.
Despite the symbolism of todays march, Chicago remains in a State Of Emergency and current members of CeaseFire know exactly what I leaned from my work with them and others that failure to address these desperate economic conditions will surely result in more good people being drawn into the gang, drug, and illegal street economies and those tensions and battles will give us more marches and vigils to hold from the violence yet to come !!!
The Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr made it clear when he issues a national news release declring that Chicago is in a State of Emergency and must deal with the desperate economic conditions, so why does Mayor Daley, Jody Weis, CNN, Tribune, and all respond so quickly to cover a CeaseFire march today, but Not Rev. Jackson's call to deal with the desperate economic conditions. I was surely glad to have been called by CNN the other day to debate why we should not invest our state and federal dollars on dispatching the National Guard to Chicago, but instead on creating new legal jobs.
As a community organizer, it is job to keep lobbying The Tribune, CNN, and all on the importance of them actually following up when after each act of violence they ask, "What Are The Solutions,?" and their apparant reluctance to actually respond when solutions of substance are offered to help Stop The Violence in Chicago street.