Monday, May 2, 2011


The Westside Safe Passage Pastors convened a community meeting of residents, stakeholders, law enforcement, elected officials, Marshall and Orr High School administrators, Chicago Public Schools lawyers, and concerned citizens on March 25 at People’s Church of the Harvest COGIC, 3570 West Fifth Avenue. Purpose of the meeting was to report results of 700 surveys conducted in the East Garfield Park, West Humboldt Park, and North Lawndale communities about the impact of the Safe Passage Community Watch Program at the two high schools.
    It also raised awareness of the barriers faced by ex-offenders applying to CPS for employment, and to demand that legislators allocate funds to continue the Safe Passage Program for the next year.
    Many of the 32 community watchers and supervisors gave testimonials about the effectiveness of the program in keeping young people safe as they travel to and from school.
    Moderating the meeting and presenting results of the surveys was Dr. Patricia Van Pelt Watkins. Participating on a panel were Congressman Danny K. Davis, Alderman Jason Ervin, David Malone of Academy of Urban School Leadership, Commander Eric Washington, CPS Security Chief Michael Shields, James Bedley of CPS Legal Dept., and Ms Johnson, Vice Principal of Marshall High School.
    Next steps are to expand Safe Passage to area elementary schools, pursue changes in hiring practices, and continue the City’s Community Watch Program.

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