A Crisis Of Violence And Values – by Rev. Jesse Jackson


Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel should immediately convene his cabinet – public health, police, housing, education and parks – for an emergency meeting with community leaders, anti-violence workers and other stakeholders to develop and implement a comprehensive approach to addressing the violence that plagues too many parts of our city.

As the numbers from Chicago’s shocking and shameful weekend of violence poured in – 12 dead, 74 shot, hospital trauma centers overwhelmed – Mayor Emanuel declared there are too many guns on the streets and “not enough values.”

He’s right on both counts, provided he understands that closing mental health clinics and 50 public schools is also a reflection of values.

Pouring resources into downtown and the North Side of the city while the West and South sides of town are neglected is a value.

A police department with only a 30 percent homicide clearance rate is a value.

Putting more dollars into training law enforcement in how to interact with and protect those with mental illness or those caught in the trap of poverty is a value.

We need more and better values from top to bottom to stop the cycle of violence – along with a plan to rebuild urban America. In the absence of a policy of construction, destruction always abounds.

The young people marching in the Bud Billiken Parade must feel as safe and protected as the young people who attended Lallapalooza.

This is not just a Chicago problem. We also need to hear from Gov. Bruce Rauner and J.B. Pritzker about their plans to stop the violence and save the children.


Chicago just experienced mass shootings in multiple locations. Most of the victims of the orgy of gun violence were young adults and teenagers. One of the victims was only 11.

Like the mass shootings in Sandy Hook and most recently Parkland, Florida, the young victims of Chicago’s violence deserve the city’s full support. An army of crisis and mental health workers – the ones who still have jobs – must be immediately dispatched to the neighborhoods where the shootings occurred.

This Saturday, August 11, hundreds of thousands of people will line Dr. Martin Luther King Drive for the annual Bud Billiken back-to-school parade, the largest African American parade in the country.

The young people marching in the parade as well as the spectators must see and feel that they are as safe and as protected by the police – and as valued by the city and the state of Illinois – as the young people who poured into the Loop over the weekend to attend Lallapalooza even as their peers were being gunned down in the dispossessed part of town.

We are one city. That is a value everyone should share.

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