Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Poverty, Media, Leadership

Monday's Chicago Sun-Times devoted the first three pages to Mayor Emanuel's response to the high murder rate in Chicago. On page 2 is a full-page commentary by Mary Mitchell, under the headline "We've heard this all before."

Yes, we have. I've posted this front page from the October 15, 1992 Chicago Sun-Times on this blog at least once a year since 1995. I included it in print newsletters I was sending from 1994 to 2001 (while I still had money to do this.)

Because non-profits don't have money to buy the first three pages of a major newspaper to tell their stories I've followed a "Rest of the Story" strategy to try to get this message consistently in front of readers. If you visit the media and violence links on this blog you can see how I point to stories in the daily media then add maps and commentary pointing out the availability, or lack of, tutor/mentor programs in the areas where the media was focusing that day's story. I also point to articles and research that readers can use to dig deeper.

I've primarily followed the two major papers but recognize that many other papers are telling this story. Today my Facebook network pointed me to an article in the Reader, written by Steve Borgia, titled "The root cause of Chicago's glut of murders". In this Steve includes hyperlinks to other articles he's written such as "Separate, Unequal, and Ignored" and "Two mayors, two Chicagos".

My goal is that people who are outraged by the stories they see in the local news will form learning circles in their business, company, school and/or faith group and build their own understanding of the program, and their own belief in strategies that connect kids in poverty neighborhoods with ideas and networks of people beyond their own neighborhoods. Volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs can do this if they are structured to encourage long-term connections of kids and volunteers and if they are available in the neighborhoods where their is the highest degree of poverty and segregation.

One concern I have is that when I point to articles and commentary in the local media those links do not stay in place far into the future. Thus, as people read past articles on a blog, too many of the hyperlinks are broken...even to my own web site. If anyone has suggestions for ways these articles might be archived for future research and planning, please share your thoughts.

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