MARK ALLEN TALKS -- Chicago Homicides Rising Under No Alarm
Mark S. Allen, Associate Editor
The South Street Journal Newspaper, Founder of The Black Leadership Development Institute, BLDI , and Board member of The Black Wall Street-Chicago Grassroot Economic Empowerment Project 449 East 35th Street, 1st Floor, Chicago, Illinois 60616 312-624-8351 or 773-392-0165
"Chicago has adjusted so much to being the Murder Capital of the World that without any major frenzy for our collective city leaders, be they elected, appointed or annointed, Chicago Police Chief Jody Weis eases through his latest press conference announcing that there is no State of Emergency in that the desperate economic conditions facing urban communities and the tensions and battles over illegal street economies has helped create the atmosphere where those acts of desperation helped Chicago homicides to go up by almost 4% with no major intervention sight.
Whether its local grassroots leaders like myself, the recently slain Chicago Police Officer Thomas Wortham IV, Crime intervention groups like Peace In The Hood, CeaseFire, SafetyNet, former gang leaders like Wallace "Gator" Bradley, religious leaders like Father Michael Pfleger or even internationally known leaders like the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr, it does not matter who says it, Police Chief Jody Weis, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, Governor Quinn, and even Chicago's own U.S. President Barack Obama, absolutely refuse to acknowledge that Chicago is in a State of Emergency Economically and that no amount of new police dispatching can compete with the desperate economic conditions facing urban communities causing far too many of our youth and adults feeling no other option but being backed into the gang, drug, and other illegal street economies as their source of income, even at the risk of death.
Chicago recently had a whole fundraising and blueprint campaign with their Olympic 2010 effort which at the root was lying to the world that it had the ability to protect the worlds tourists and athletes from harms way, when it is clear that this City has no plan that works that can provide enough legitimate jobs for its people and stop the gang and drug operations from being the number one employer of our youth and adults. And worse, the Mayor, Governor, Police Chief and even The White House refuses to meet with local leaders or acknowledge the recommendations from grassroots organizations on proposals they've identified as ways to create more local legal jobs. Our leaders just have a built in boilerplate statement to always read on Stopping The Violence and asking yet never responding to What Are The Solutions? Why no Olympic plan to provide for the people already here?
Matters and consitions are about to get even worse as thousands of others are now facing layoffs from their jobs and where does their money come from for these people when it becomes clear that they cannot keep up with their expenses on what the Unemployment allocation may be, and then what, more people being drawn into investing in the drug and other illegal street economies as their final desperate measure to make ends meet. That only increases the battle for another piece of street turf, even more tensions in families and an already explosive street environment, and yep, more violence and more death.
As I mentioned to my media colleagues last week (and ignored) during President Obama's visit back home, that there was team coverage on how he was responding to the BP Gulf Oil Spill, but almost 200 people dead in Chicago was not an issue of importance at all. Nobody seems to care or feel that just as The President can respond with resources to save the lives of wildlife and the economy impacted by the oil spill that he can also provide resources to help a major urban city with an alarming murder rate. As educational activist Phillip Jackson of The Black Star Project once pointed out in a map the alarming number of children killed just blocks or a few miles from President Obama's own Hyde Park Home, but who cares, we'll wait until it actually hits the block proper like we did recently in Chatham. The State of Emergency and resources that Officer Thomas Wortham IV requested in life only came with his death. Aren't saving human lives just as important as saving the wildlife and seafood from the gulf?
I also reported how Sun Times Columnist Mark Brown posted a column asking for solutions to crime this summer, then busted the dreams of hundreds of at-risk youth and adults who sought his public support for their efforts to create summer green jobs by using vacant empty lots as community gardens, but Brown said supporting these youth who were in gangs and trying to get out would be just legitimzing gangs new community organization fronts. So Brown and others who think like him sentenced them back to the illegal street economies that they know along with the deadly consequences that come with it.
Elder and imprisoned gang leaders Malik Jeff Fort and Larry Hoover asked Wallace "Gator" Bradley, former gang member now Minister Jeff Allen, myself and others community activists in the streets to spread a message of peace among targeted factions of their respective gangs where they have influence to stop the violence and use a t-shirt campaign as a vehicle for some to make some legimate money and this latest effort was immediately labled as just another "scam."
So here we are again facing another historic deadly summer under even worse economic condiitions as ever before, thousands of young people about to be out of school shortly with not enough legitimate jobs to keep them from being drawn into the streets, thousands more facing layoffs and more economic desperation and acts of violence and death which is not a State of Emergency at all. Almost 200 dead is just another newsbrief. So while the Mayor, Police Chief, Governor, President, only listen to themselves in terms of how to address this, and most in mainstream media continue to be reactive versus proactive, our people will continue to die at alarming rates, and our collective adjustment to it all.