Photo by WIll Letcher
National coverage has talked a great deal about Chicago’s violence this past early August weekend, with the Tribune reporting that early Sunday 26 people were shot in separate attacks between midnight and 6:50 a.m.
The issue’s causes and factors are complicated, but much of the discourse is pointed towards current Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, especially by the wide range of candidates hopeful for the Mayor’s seat in 2019.
“Rahm Emanuel cannot sit this out—he’s the mayor, and our city is facing a public health crisis,” Lightfoot said. “Taking on gun violence goes far beyond policing: it’s about ending poverty and reversing decades of disinvestment through quality schools, career training, social services, and jobs in neighborhoods that have been ignored for too long.”
Lori Lightfoot has significant experience as Chair of Chicago’s Police Accountability Task Force, as well as working for the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Law Firm Mayer Brown LLP.
Chicago Local and Public Policy expert Amara Enyia also made a statement publicly. She has been holding weekly “WE Run This City” events throughout the summer as a direct way to communicate her vision throughout Chicago’s neighborhoods.
“There is no quick fix, but there are solutions and we ALL, at every level, can play a role,” Enyia said. What we are experiencing is decades of refusal to address the root causes of violence (which manifest as public safety crises). We haven’t addressed it because the timing doesn’t fit neatly within the next press or election cycle.”
Mirroring Lightfoot’s experiences, Enyia also notes the role that police play in Chicago’s gun violence, as well asl what local government is responsible for with this issue at large.
“Immediately some will call for more police – but police are largely reactive,” Enyia said. “Without addressing the conditions that create the mentality to pick up a weapon and kill someone, our efforts will garner few results.”
Here’s the rest of her statement in its entirety, found on her facebook page:
“Dehumanization is the gateway to violence. Losing one’s own humanity is a prerequisite for the ability to kill. As a matter of policy, we must ask, what are the conditions that lead to dehumanization? Poverty? Biological manifestations of public health hazards? Trauma? Lack of access to mental and behavioral health care? Economic stress? The solutions emerge and can be implemented when we ask the right questions.
This is a multifaceted issue that requires us to think and do with more intention than simply calling for the lowest hanging fruit that will tide us over until the next horrible weekend.
The real work takes time and requires more than thoughts, prayers and a press conference.”
Daniel Johanson (he/him) is a journalist and digital media specialist living in Chicago, Illinois. He serves as Editor-in-Chief at Scapi and in that capacity manages all things content, including writing and editing articles and producing digital content. His most recent work includes the docuseries Heart of a Nation: Tracking Socialism in the Midwest and co-hosting the podcast Scapi Radio. He spends his free time with cats.