Chicago Tribune columnist Dahleen Glanton writes of two beloved teachers from two very different neighborhoodswho shared the tragic distinction of being unintended victims of gun violence while going about their daily lives – three years and 20 miles apart.
"Chances are that Betty Howard and Cynthia Trevillion never crossed paths in life. On the surface, it might seem as though they had little in common. But the similarities in their deaths should give us all reason to pause. It is among the most striking evidence yet that no one in Chicago is immune to the violence.
That's the tough reality of living in a city where gun violence has been allowed to escalate to the point where random people can be killed while simply going about their lives. It is a fact that's difficult to acknowledge, and one that we are too ashamed to talk about …. We would rather hide behind the illusion that shootings only occur in blighted neighborhoods where most Chicagoans would dare not venture."
But we can't hide and we can't stay silent. Not with so many illegal guns flooding our streets.
"The irony is that both Howard and Trevillion had dedicated their lives to working with young people, helping them gain the tools they would need to keep them from getting caught up in the city's violence. Losing Chicagoans so committed to giving back to their communities is especially tragic. Their deaths should be a call to action for those of us who want our elected officials in the city, the county, the state and the federal government to do whatever it takes to make illegal guns inaccessible."
If you are an employer, you can hire young people at risk. If you are a community leader, you can help improve police-community relations. If you are a health care provider, you can support trauma-informed care to gun violence victims. If you are a funder, you can support any one of these efforts. Whatever you do, your voice matters when you speak up in support of policies that can make our neighborhoods safer. Reach out to learn more.