Friday, March 07, 2014

Young homicide victim not forgotten, and shouldn't be.

On Thursday, March 6, 2014 I read a column written by the Chicago Tribune's John Kass, telling the story of a 12 year old boy shot to death in Chicago in 2012, and of a CPS Social Worker who is trying to keep his memory alive.

This article resonated with me because I've been collecting media stories about violence, poorly performing schools, poverty, gangs, etc. for the past 20 years. While most shootings get very little attention in the media, and good news stories get even less attention, some stories get full page attention and are the focus of some of the most talented writers at Chicago's local media outlets. The three stories in this image are examples of a "don't forget, demand actions, it's up to all of us" type of headline and editorial.

When we created the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993 the goal was to build a master database of known tutor/mentor programs, along with a library of research showing where they were most needed, and why. We started using maps to show where these programs were located, and where more were needed. We organized events, like the Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conferences to draw people together to learn from each other, and to motivate media to write more stories that could serve as advertising to draw public interest and greater volunteer and donor support of programs in every neighborhood.

Since we had no dollars for advertising, and could not get consistent support from Mayor Daley or other city leaders, I began to develop map-stories, following media stories, so that when the media story build public interest in the problem our map stories could focus that interest on neighborhoods where the event motivating the negative news story took place. I called this "The Rest of the Story".

I did not have many ways to share these maps during the 1990s or 2000s, but I've kept them and always created a map display at every Tutor/Mentor Conference. Recently I've begun to create a web archive of map-stories. This slide show is from that archive.

Find more photos like this on Tutor/Mentor Connection

These stories are reminders that we need to do more if we're to create more opportunities for kids in these neighborhoods to connect with mentors and tutors and learning opportunities that steer them away from gangs and help them move toward jobs and careers.

As I went through my library of map stories, I also skimmed through some of the media stories I've collected. This is one from 1995, talking about how poverty impacts kids. I have many stories like this. Too many.

We're still talking about the same problems in 2014 as we were talking about in 1995.
We've spent billions of dollars, yet the same problems continue to plague us.

One challenge from the past was the inability for people to connect frequently in place-based meetings where they could dig deeper into this information and build a shared commitment to actions that might have greater long-term impact. We now have the internet and social media, so more of us who care about this problem have the potential to connect and innovate new ways to build and sustain the flow of resources into every high poverty neighborhood that is needed to create more opportunities for kids in these neighborhoods.

More than a decade ago I created this strategy map to visualize leadership commitments that need to be made by hundreds of people in Chicago and other cities.

One of the links on the strategy map points to this "village map".

My goal is to put links in every node on this map, pointing to leaders in every business, faith, entertainment, media and civic sector, who have a version of the strategy map on their own web site, indicating their support of the strategy. As that list grows, so will our ability to keep memories of slain youth alive by the work we do to build systems of support in every neighborhood that are designed to prevent a repeat of such tragedies some day in the future.

I'm just one person. I have a small voice. It's a big city and a big world. I encourage more youth and adults learn to create map-stories and blog articles like this, and share them on their own media as frequently as I do. Build your own links library and include a link to my sites. Build your own Twitter and Facebook pages and let's connect.

As more people do this my voice, and yours, will become a roar.

No comments: