Reducing Gun Violence Is On Everyone’s Lips

By The Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities

With summer upon us, Chicago continues to address gun violence with comprehensive approaches that go beyond policing to include employment, education and political activism.

JP Morgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon and Chicago CRED Managing Director and former U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan call on the business community to hire the formerly incarcerated who continue to face employment barriers. They write in the Tribune:

It is morally and economically bad for our country if we do not start removing barriers that prevent returning citizens from a shot at a better life after they have paid their debt to society. Business should be at the forefront of solving this challenge. Frankly, it’s in our best interest to do so. If done correctly, we can create meaningful career opportunities for ex-offenders and tackle a hiring challenge for businesses too.

The Chicago Sun-Times wraps up its 31 Bullets Campaign with 31 concrete ideas for reducing gun violence. In a concluding editorial the paper issues a strongly-worded call to action:

We believe in the power of collective action to create a better society. There would no point in writing editorials about anything at all if we did not. We believe, that is to say, that the kids have got it right — walk out, demonstrate and stay angry. Remain the conscience of a nation. Collective action can change hearts and votes.

There’s an election coming up. And we urge you to vote down every member of Congress and every state legislator who has opposed even modest gun law reforms. Our job in the coming months will be to single out the worst offenders for you. Your job will be to vote them out. Let’s call that Bullet 32.

The Chicago Sun-Times also reports on the role that social media plays in fueling gang violence.

Gangs’ embrace of social media to goad foes or conceal drug dealing in emoji-laden text is the biggest change in how gangs operate compared with 10 years ago, according to new law enforcement data provided exclusively to The Associated Press ahead of its release Tuesday by the Chicago Crime Commission. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other sites have radically altered gang culture in Chicago. They are having a similar influence on gangs nationwide.

WGN has a podcast focused on the 132 Safe and Peaceful Summer Fund grantees who are organizing neighborhood activities this summer to help reclaim parks, streets and public areas and build community cohesion.

US News and World Reports writes about a Chicago study linking educational underperformance to direct and indirect exposure to violence—i.e. “collateral damage.”

“I think the results here show it’s [violence] really everyone’s problem,” says Johns Hopkins sociologist Julia Burdick-Will. “If we really want to improve our schools, we need to deal with the crime problems, all the social problems in our cities, because it’s not just the kids at schools in those neighborhoods that are affected, it’s everyone.”

Lastly, student gun safety activist Alex King, who just graduated from North Lawndale College Prep in Chicago, reflects on the power of students to drive change and keep our schools safer.

Soon, students like me will be taking our message of peace and nonviolence all across the country, starting with a Peace March in Chicago, at St. Sabina’s Church on Friday, June 15. I’ll be speaking about the resources our schools and communities need, like jobs and mental health services, to put an end to violence. We’ll also be speaking about the nationwide solutions we need to the national problem of gun violence. I hope you’ll be listening and taking action with me and other young people to create beloved and peaceful communities across the United States.