Monday, May 18, 2009

Media focus on violence, not solutions

I found three stories this weekend that I encourage you to read.

One is the perspectives story titled "Too Young to Die" in the Chicago Tribune, where a full page was devoted to images of tragic deaths of inner city kids, from Chicago and other cities.

Another was today's column by Dawn Turner Trice, quoting Phil Jackson, of the Black Star Project, and telling how people need to do something to stop these tragedies.

The third was in Crain's Chicago Business, where Greg Hinz wrote an article called "Left Behind" focusing on the same problems as the first two articles.

After a bit of outrage, what will readers do next? Who will visit the Black Star Project to learn more about what Phil Jackson has to say? Who will visit this blog, to read what I have to say? Who will visit web sites of tutor/mentor programs, like Cabrini Connections, and see what our youth have to say?

Who will use the Tutor/Mentor Program Locator to find out where tutor/mentor programs are located, and which one they can help with a donations this week, or this month, so they are able to keep trying to help kids make better decisions so they overcome the challenges that these three articles point out.

None of these media stories pointed to this blog, or our maps. I don't find anything on the Black Star Project web site pointing out that there are other tutor/mentor programs in the Chicago area who also working with inner city kids, and who also need donations and volunteers.

Until we get people thinking of all the places where kids need help, and of how to support all of the different organizations working to help kids, some programs will be supported for some of the time, but few will be fully supported for all the years it takes to solve these problems, or just to help one youth go from first grade, through high school, through college or vocational school, and into a job.

We'll focus on this type of collaboration at the May 28 and 29 Tutor/Mentor Conference being held at Northwestern University School of Law. If you care about these issues, encourage people you know to attend.

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