Why planning and praying isn’t enough to stop Chicago’s crime problem
Published: Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08
Families and friends gathered together Memorial Day Weekend to honor the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces, filled with ceremonies and backyard barbeques. The holiday weekend ended with 10 people reported dead and at least 40 others injured in shootings across the city. It has become very obvious that in Chicago, we have way too much planning and prayer and not enough action.
Despite the city having more homicides and shootings so far in 2012 than during the same time last year, according to unofficial briefing summaries prepared by the Chicago Police Department, Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said the department's strategy to curb gang violence throughout the city is working.
Flanked by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, several aldermen and police command staff at the Washington Park Fieldhouse on the South Side, McCarthy told reporters at a news conference May 29 that shootings across the city have decreased by seven percent since the department began its “gang audits” — specialized units sharing gang intelligence with beat officers — in all 23 of its districts in March.
I am not sure what city Mayor Emanuel and McCarthy live in, but something obviously is not working. Maybe they are still too high off a little post-NATO haze, to see that crime and violence related to guns plague the city.
The statistics do not lie. Through Sunday, there have been at least 200 homicides compared to 134 during the same period in 2011, a 49.25 increase, according to unofficial police data. Shootings are up nearly 14 percent over the last year through Sunday: 851 compared to 747 in 2011, according to the data.
So if the mayor and CPD’s planning is working, the joke is on me.
American citizens have begun to “occupy” every segment of our society, taking possession of a country that they say no longer upholds the interests of “the People,” engaging the media’s attention and calling other citizens to action. In a period after the Civil Rights Movement and black riots of the late ‘80s and ‘90s, we need to now give rise to a generation of activists on the forefront of black empowerment, with the opposition of black-on-black crime being a top priority.
A few of my black, Christian friends told me that the only thing that can save us is God and prayer, and while my belief in God and the power of prayer is strong, I am no more compelled to believe that answer is the solution. We can pray and hope all we want, but sometimes God is calling us to make a move.
For Blacks, the church has been and should be the catalyst for transformation and healing in communities. Therefore, when I count the plethora of churches on the South Side, yet the same communities are plagued by everything wrong in the world, I am a little alarmed. I doubt God is concerned with your Sunday's Best, when the blood of our brothers and sisters flood our streets.
What's the point of sitting in church Sunday after Sunday, if violence and crime continue to plague our communities? If you're in a church that is not rooted in community sustainability, then you need to leave. I am not saying do not go to church, but I do believe that if we do not make saving each other a priority, who will?
Chicago isn't the only city in the nation plagued by violence and crime. Trust me, gun violence is as American as baseball and apple pie, and weekends like this are what have made heat and black youth synonymous with gun violence, criminal activity and death.
While organizers, protesters, spectators and members of the various occupation movements across the country continue to stand in solidarity occupying American financial centers, we, too, need to bring the fight to the home front, working to bring more resources to the city’s neighborhoods and taking back Chicago one block at a time. It is time to stop planning and praying, and start doing.