The violence plaguing our most troubled and underserved neighborhoods is a symptom of a much larger problem: a profound lack of community resources, combined with the scarcity of gainful employment and woefully underperforming schools, leaving few viable options for our citizens to thrive. This is especially true for our youth, many of whom are left believing engaging in criminal activity is the only possible option for survival.
As Commissioner, but more importantly a father, husband, and concerned citizen, the epidemic of violence in Chicago impacts me personally. The tragic murder of Hadiya Pendleton, who was shot 10 feet from my backyard, shook my core. My children compelled me to take an affirmative stand against violence in our communities. From the tragedy of Hadiya’s murder I and other community members founded The It’s Time Organization (TITO), an anti-violence organization addressing youth violence in the 3rd, 4th and 5th Wards.
As Commissioner, I will continue to:
- Advocate zealously for the creation and maintenance of programs seeking to hire youth for the summer and beyond;
- Work to remove barriers to mental health services for our youth, particularly those who have suffered from trauma as a result of experiencing violence first hand.