Hello, readers and concerned citizens. We can all agree that gun violence in Chicago has spiraled out of control. As the numbers of victims killed by gun violence increase, mothers, and relatives of victims are in a prolonged state of mourning, without any hope that the situation is going to improve. Thousands live in a constant state of fear.
However, the belief that gun violence is going to vanish just by telling gang bangers to stop the killing is largely an illusion. Such desperate pleas to resolve the killings in gang-controlled territories never worked and will continue to fail time and time again.
The reality is that you cannot tell people who are prone to violence to stop the killing without offering a solution to the problems which have entrapped them. People do bad things because their status in life is chaos. Many young men and women in Afro-Americans and Hispanic communities are in gangs for various forms of support, including safety and security from other rival gang squads.
Proactivity on a massive scale is the most effective answer to this crisis of violence. State and local political efforts which include, increasing police presence in a community, cannot be 100% effective unless other elements of the community get deeply involved.
As a matter of fact, we can all agree that the whole is always greater than its parts.
The Consequences of Passivity
To continue to think that desperate pleas to stop the violence are going to work is to continue to see mothers and fathers weeping and wailing in the streets of Chicago. To continue to think that desperate pleas are going to stop the violence is to continue to see innocent children and bystanders gunned down between crossfire sparked by rival gang members. To continue to think that desperate please to stop the violence is going to stop black on black crime is to continue to see a generation destroyed by its own brutal means.
These are dangerous times. Gun violence in the United States has increased to an all- time high. In Chicago alone, over 3,000 people were shot in 2015, according to statics. 81.8 of the shootings were black on black crime. 90% of the victims were black males.
The Resolution of Concerted Effort
To effectively address the problem of gangs and violence, a concerted effort must be initiated by all elements of the community, including individual citizens, law enforcement, churches, state and local programs, grassroots groups, such as Black Lives Matter as businesses and schools.
The goal is to eliminate gun violence off the streets of Chicago and create projects that will persuade young black men to give up gun violence by submitting illegal guns to local police districts. If this model works for Chicago, it will work for other cities whose streets are filled with crime and violence.
The duty of policemen is to protect the community, not to terrorize it. Law enforcement officials must be trained how to connect with oppressive communities, in particular, the black community, which is largely mistrustful of law enforcement officials.
Giving the recent killings of young, unarmed black men, police officers must embrace sensitivity training, positive community connections, and cultural understanding. These practices will build trust between police districts and the black community.
The responsibility of religious leaders is to bring people together is a circle of peace and to teach people to display goodwill toward one another. There is no excuse, especially when I can find 4 or 5 churches within a community.
The obstacle that keeps church apart is their denominational differences, a problem that must be eliminated if the church is going to play a significant role in bringing positive change to the neighborhoods and communities across the nation.
Churches must come together using prayer, meditation, and faith in God plan for the greater community, not just the community of believers.
Churches must go out into the streets of the community and reach out to those who are in desperate need of help, not only when it comes to spiritual guidance, but also, when it comes to supplying monetary and material need to the poor.
Always known for taking more money than they give, religious leaders must reverse the perception by going out and giving back to the community. People are hungry. They need food, clothing and shelter and then empowerment using spiritual enlightenment.
State and Local Programs
Community programs that assist the poor in education, skills, and intellectual improvement must be increased. Many oppressive communities consisted of people who can barely read or write. These programs must reach out to individual families and children who needs to acquire the basic knowledge and skills to become a value oriented citizen.
Illiteracy is a tragedy that prevents many young black men from even getting a job at local fast food restaurant. Knowing how to read is the key to growth and development on many levels. The ignorance of this will keep the illiterate on desperate grown their entire lives.
The goal of these programs is to get people on their feet so that they can have a chance to walk successfully by themselves.
Black Lives Matter is a grass root movement that originated to confront police brutality, directed, in particularly against young black men. Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and countless other young black men died at the hands of police officers or law enforcement assistance that fired their guns when it wasn’t necessary.
However, Black Lives Matter must also stand up against the senseless gang violence that is occurring in Chicago. If black lives really matter, then the movement must march in the streets of oppressive communities and address the gang members who are the source of such gun violence.
Once the problem of black on black crime is addressed in the communities across America by this grass root movement, its credibility for what it stands for is questionable.
The responsibility of educational institutions in Chicago is to offer young men and women living in the oppressive communities of Chicago a way to escape the poverty and crime which holds them captive.
Fortunately, this approach has begun.
Free tuition is a great start. Young people need to understand that there is a better way to make a living rather than gunning down one another is the streets.
Educational institutions must reach out to those who desire to improve their livelihood in an honorable and respectful way.
Local businesses must also initiate projects that will help bring gun violence under control. A good example of a local business’s effort to bring peace to the community is found in the recent movie: Barbershop: the Next Cut. The setting of this movie is actually in Chicago.
In the movie, the barbershop employees held a south side community meeting to get the opinions of members of the community on stopping the gun violence. After a series of suggestions, they came up with a brilliant idea of offering free haircuts for a 48-hour timeline.
They reached out to rival gang members to negotiate the idea. This effort took courage, but it worked. For 48 hours there was no violence.
Even though it was just a movie, it demonstrated what could be done to reduce and eventually eliminate gun violence in an oppressive city.
Local business must come together with other elements of the community to bring peace to the streets of Chicago. Young men and women need jobs period. Gangs and violence are the only way they feel they can survive. Business can provide hope by giving back to the community, whether it is through offering free services or providing jobs for the sake of establishing peace.
The only way this concerted effort to eliminate gun violence can fail is if the commitment is not sustained over the long haul. Bringing peace to the streets of Chicago will take patience, hope, and faith. There will be setbacks, disappointments, and bad breaks, but with dedication and determination of the entire community, including individual citizens, a peaceful and progressive Chicago, with respect and goodwill toward all, can become a reality.