Tuesday, March 20, 2012
The Illinois Primary is today. How many are voting? I did. However, I wasn't voting for anyone who I really felt was providing the type of leadership needed to make a long-term change in the urban warfare taking place in Chicago and other cities. No such leaders are on the ballot for either party.
The story on page 7 of today's Chicago Tribune is one that I would like to see more politicians focus on. That's because it relates to education, jobs, housing, race relations, equality, justice and most other issues.
In the past 7 years I've written over 101 stories about violence in Chicago. In many of these I've included maps from the Tutor/Mentor Program Locator, that people can use to determine if there are any non-school tutor/mentor programs in the area. The map in today's Tribune shows where these shootings took place. You can see a large concentration in the South and West parts of the city.
Using the Tutor/Mentor Program Locator you can zoom into sections of the city and build your own map. Then you can convert that to a JPG and put it in your own newsletter, Facebook page, or blog article, demanding that elected leaders, businesses, faith groups and universities in the area become more strategic in making mentor-rich, career-focused tutor/mentor and other learning programs available in the area.
If you're a student, educator, or volunteer looking for a meaningful use of your time, you can help us collect information about existing tutor/mentor programs in different parts of the city. You can lead discussion groups to compare local programs to programs in other parts of Chicago and in other cities. When you see good things happening in other programs you can help mobilize the resources needed to incorporate these good ideas in neighborhood programs.
I DON'T KNOW A QUICK FIX TO STOP THE VIOLENCE!!
I do believe that if we aggregate information showing how others around the world are trying to change attitudes, aspirations, and habits of young people, we can find ideas that will help us build world-class efforts in Chicago neighborhoods. I'm aggregating information in the Tutor/Mentor Connection library. I'm building a database of tutor/mentor programs. I've been doing this since 1993.
However, I'm still paying many of the bills from my own savings and doing much of the work in my own home office because I've not yet enlisted city leaders to understand, adopt and support this effort.
I encourage you to read some of the strategies I've posted here and here and in the articles written on this blog for many years. Share these with co-workers, other students, friends in other cities. Add your own ideas. Expand the network of people looking at this information and using it to make more and better programs available to help youth to jobs and careers instead of street violence, jail and death.