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The Mechanics
« Giving High School Students a Voice in the CPS Banning of Persepolis 1 of 150 Arrested for Protesting School Closures »

Crime Thu Mar 28 2013

Political Celebrity is not Enough to Combat Violence

The First Lady of the United States is returning home to focus on the issue of escalating violence. Michelle Obama is addressing community leaders at a luncheon April 10, titled, "Working Together to Address Youth Violence in Chicago," hosted by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Everyone loves it when first lady comes to town; it reminds us that we can produce greatness in the midst of raging chaos.

Her speech is bound to be encouraging but will civic organizations and business participation help alleviate the socioeconomic factors in street violence? It's no longer about sunny appearances, glitzy fundraisers and networking opportunities but initiatives and changes that will transform even the most broken.

Evidence shows that political celebrity fades and doesn't always influence thugs. Let's not forget the murder of 18-year-old Janay McFarlane hours after her sister attended President Obama's discussion on violence to Hyde Park High School students in February. Local elected officials give well-scripted speeches and appear at community events, but I wonder how many of them truly understand the fear of being a victim of violence, know the drug houses or the struggles of grieving families in their communities. The positive influence is needed but is not enough ammunition for a city with deep wounds and heavy gang problems.

The real progress lies in shifting the mentality of those who are captives of gang life. Leaders and political officials must reach the core: addressing young males in alternative schools to think about the long-term consequences of their actions, speaking to young ladies in sex education classes about the challenges of being ill-prepared to raise a child or buying "Hooked on Phonics" for disadvantaged children to increase educational performance will help cease the vicious cycle of criminal activity.

The Obama family is a symbol of hope for black families but we cannot wait until we are graced with their presence to become active in a fight that requires full community participation.

 
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Feature

Parents Still Steaming, but About More Than Just Boilers

By Phil Huckelberry / 2 Comments

It's now been 11 days since the carbon monoxide leak which sent over 80 Prussing Elementary School students and staff to the hospital. While officials from Chicago Public Schools have partially answered some questions, and CPS CEO Forrest Claypool has informed that he will be visiting the school to field more questions on Nov. 16, many parents remain irate at the CPS response to date. More...

Civics

Substance, Not Style, the Source of Rahm's Woes

By Ramsin Canon / 2 Comments

It's not surprising that some of Mayor Emanuel's sympathizers and supporters are confusing people's substantive disputes with the mayor as the effect of poor marketing on his part. It's exactly this insular worldview that has gotten the mayor in hot... More...

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Mechanics is the politics section of Gapers Block, reflecting the diversity of viewpoints and beliefs of Chicagoans and Illinoisans. More...
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