In response to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposed “tough on crime” strategy, specifically Senate Bill 1342, members of BYP 100 and Project Nia have collaborated to create a youth jobs bill.

Senate Bill 1342, now House Bill 5672, included a minimum sentence of one to three years for any person caught with an illegal weapon. 

From Next New Deal:

[As outlined in the bill,] ‘Gang affiliation’ – which is determined at the discretion of a judge – would lead to an escalated minimum. In addition, there are currently five new bills (HB 3770 – 3774) that have been introduced by Rep. Michael J. Zalewski (D) to the Illinois General Assembly that may very well have been drafted and introduced with good intentions to deter gun violence and other crime, and keep those who engage in it off of the street. However, components of the House package are unduly punitive.


[…] BYP100 and Project Nia are working towards proposing a youth jobs bill that may look similar to the National Youth Administration (part of the Works Progress Administration during the New Deal). The bill will focus on scaling up existing employment and training programs that have been proven effective such as One Summer Chicago Plus as well as dropout and violence prevention programs such as Becoming A Man (BAM).

Read more at Next New Deal

The youth bill will also push for the reallocation of resources to help communities most impacted by violence by implementing a series of proven and promising employment and mentoring interventions across the state. As a result, these programs reduce gun violence and strengthen communities socially and economically.

Another Chicago-based organization, Community Renewal Society, is currently spearheading the Reclaim Campaign.

The initiative urges the Cook County justice system to fund community-based restorative justice hubs and mental health and drug rehabilitation programs through money saved from the release of Cook County nonviolent detainees.

These young activists are working towards creating a world that they’d be proud to live in and a justice system that is equal and fair for all.

Where do you fall on Chicago’s gun violence debate? Is Senate Bill 1342 the answer?

Sound off below!