In little over a week, the current school year will come to a close. A key mission of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is simple, yet profound: Providing a safe learning environment for its students.
As Alderman of the 37th Ward, it is well-known that I am deeply committed to education, and that one of the cornerstones of my neighborhood agenda is improving the schools throughout the 37th Ward and the city as a whole.
The joys of summer are almost here - - and what everyone is looking forward to are sunny days, loads of fun events, activities and programs - - and equally important – a ‘safe summer’ as well. Yet, over the Memorial Day weekend, there were several shootings and tragic killing of a bright recent college graduate, whose only crime was that she went to the lakefront with a friend, was unfortunately shot in the head during an altercation and killed. The sad story continues with last weekend’s news a high school basketball star slain at a birthday party, several shootings stabbings and other random and not-so-random violence. As usual, no one knows anything, and those who do refuse to ‘snitch’. Instead they maintain a deadly silence, which affects us all. These are senseless tragedies which we must ALL work together to avoid. We must not tolerate another ‘Bloody Summer’ for our youth! What will YOU do to make a difference?
I intend to do everything I can to achieve that goal of a ‘safe summer’ for Chicago Public School students. We will need everyone, including parents, police, educators and community/civic/business leaders to stand against violence, and offer alternatives! Let’s face it, we will also need the private sector and local community groups to step up with jobs and activities, and increase their commitment to support local youth with positive, sustainable programs which deter crime and violence. Finally, the youth need to do their part as well, by trusting in, and working with us for positive change. I’ll be working hard every day to reduce youth violence, and maintaining ‘Unity in the Community’ in the 37th Ward. I invite you to join me. Together, we CAN make a difference. The Time is NOW!
Emma Mitts is the Alderman of the 37th Ward. This is the first in a series of weekly columns which will address local issues, upcoming projects and initiatives as well as key events within the ward.