According to a truly disturbing article in the Chicago Reporter, 530 young people have been murdered in Chicago since 2008.
More young people are murdered in the city of Chicago than any other American city.
A whopping 80 percent of these homocides occured in predominantly Black or Latino communities in Chicago’s South, West and Southwest sides. Keep in mind that just one third of Chicago’s population resides in these neighborhoods.
Tellingly, the most dangerous time for Chicago’s youth is the first couple of years after high school. Since 2008, 247 young people between the ages of 18 and 20 have been murdered in Chicago, which is nearly as many as the 286 under the age of 18 who have been murdered during that time frame.
This is absolutely an epidemic and an emergency; and one that the city government, the police department, community organizations and activists can’t figure out how to effectively fight. And that’s probably because of the underlying causes of this violence that continue to persist.
“The numbers of youth deaths and shootings have not been significantly reduced despite efforts by Chicago politicians and police, including the Community Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS), the concentration of officers in neighborhoods with high gang activity, the ‘Culture of Calm’ program instituted in “high-risk” public schools, and the efforts of well-known non-profit organizations like the peer intervention group CeaseFire. Community members, youth advocates and youth themselves consistently say that it is nearly impossible to curb youth violence without addressing the underlying social conditions: extreme racial and economic segregation, a lack of job opportunities, limited access to higher education, violence-plagued and under-funded public schools, broken families and a general feeling of hopelessness and marginalization among many Chicago residents.
‘What is the mindset of the person when the future holds no hope?’ asked Wiley Rogers, 70, a long-time community activist in Woodlawn and a former social worker for the Chicago Department of Public Health. ‘Historically, every generation has had the promise and hope of the future out there. These kids don’t have that. What matters is today. It leads to this horrible fatalism, where life ain’t worth living anymore.'”
How do we combat the sense of hopelessness our young people are feeling?
How do we save our youth?
Sound off below!