The Crusader Newspaper Group

When will we save our children?   

By Michael Pfleger

With carjackings up 283 percent and homicides in January the deadliest since 2017, we need to have a plan for the violence in Chicago as aggressive and detailed as we have for COVID-19.

The city’s approach to the COVID-19 virus has been successful, now we must implement as aggressive an approach to the virus of violence.

We must have community meetings in all the areas where the violence has increased. We must have a plan that includes the community, the youth involved, faith communities and law enforcement. Just as the communities’ involvement was absolutely necessary to stopping the spread of COVID-19, so must the community be involved with the stopping of violence.

Community involvement must be comprehensive. It must deal with the influence of video games and music, it must deal with reaching our young people in schools, churches and yes, homes, affirming their greatness and potential, exposing them to their possibilities and purpose, loving them and providing structure, expectations, and discipline.

Communities must be charged to wrap our arms around our young people again. It must have dollars committed to investment and opportunity where neglect and abandonment have become the norm. And these dollars cannot be crumbs left over from budgets but be committed and focused as was done with the West and South Loop.

There must be community and government buy-ins and partnerships. Just as the federal government is looking at trillions of dollars to repair America from COVID-19, there must be trillions of dollars committed to undoing decades of racism, abandonment, and neglect.

It will demand serious police reform, where racial profiling and racist practices will be punished, and training will be enforced to transform policing. These are just some of the necessary ingredients if we are really trying to change Chicago and not just lower numbers. The other ingredients will surface as communities are invited to be part of the solution.

The psychological, physical, and emotional trauma done to whole communities not only demands transformation but also the support needed to heal and cure rather than survive.

Chicago’s future depends on how she treats those she has killed, physically, yes, but also mentally, and economically, along with the dreams of her children.

COVID-19 will end, and we are in the process of saving homes and businesses.

What I want to know is will we save our children?

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