Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"Market woes should pale next to local carnage"

Dawn Turner Trice wrote a column in the Oct. 23 Chicago Tribune with the headline shown above. You can read it here, along with about 160 comments. Since my post is number 157, I doubt that many people will read it. Thus, I'm posting it here, too:


Dawn, thanks for letting your anger show, but I wish media people would try to find a way to write about this every day, not just when they decide to.

I've been writing about this since 1992 when Dantrell Davis was killed in Cabrini Green. When I write about it I point to ways people can become tutors/mentors in non-school programs operating in some of these neighborhoods. You can read one of my articles at here.

I don't claim to know all of the answers to this problem, but I've been building a library of information that anyone can learn from, to support their own thinking and actions. You can see this at http://www.tutormentorconnection.org

I believe in volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs not because they are a magic solution, but because the connect people who don't live in poverty with kids who do. As a volunteer meets with a kids each week, often for several years, it's hard not to become angry, or to become personally involved.

Until we get more people beyond poverty personally involved, not much will change.

Finally, I use maps to help people understand where poverty and poor schools are located, and where tutor/mentor programs operate, or are needed. In these maps I create overlays showing churches, hospitals, universities, and business operating in these neighborhoods, who would benefit if the poverty and violence were reduced. These are the groups who need to be strategically involved.

I also have mapped a few political districts, such as those of State Senator James Meeks. I do this to provide a tool these leaders might use to convene people who will make more and better non-school tutoring, mentoring, learning and workforce development opportunities available in their districts. Hopefully they'll use these and show the people who vote for them how they are helping such programs grow in all parts of the district where there is a need. You can see these maps at http://mappingforjustice.blogspot.com/

I can create all of this, but if no one looks at it, I'm a crowd of one. It's up to you in the media to connect your stories to information that people can use to learn more about the problem and to get involved in the solutions. If you do this once a week for the next ten years, maybe others will follow your example and they will help us put more programs in these areas to help parents, and compete with gangs, for the attention of kids.

It's also up to faith leaders, businesses and others to use their own communications to connect people who want to solve these problems with places where they can learn, and where they get involved.

It does take a village. But the village needs a plan, a map, and needs to stay involved for many years if we're to change what took many years to create.

1 comment:

nicolewhite.cabrini said...

Oh wow, some of those comments are so frustrating. People just don't get it.
By the way, you're comment #157, not #144, just so people don't get confused.
I clarified your comments to some of those people in post #161, under "Making a Difference."