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Archdiocese of Chicago appoints full-time violence prevention director

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Philip Andrew is the new director of violence prevention initiatives, a new position for the Archdiocese of Chicago. (WLS)

In an effort to stop Chicago violence, the Archdiocese of Chicago appointed a former FBI special agent as its first-ever director of violence prevention initiatives.

Philip Andrew, whose FBI career spans more than 20 years, holds the new full-time position.

"Our No. 1 job is to keep children safe from violence," said Andrew, who most recently served in the bureau's Chicago Division as a special agent with a focus on gun violence and other areas.

In his new role, Andrew will lead the strategic planning and directing of the Archdiocese's anti-violence initiatives through coalition-building efforts, increased charitable presence in distressed neighborhoods and development and revitalization of programs to help reduce the violence-causing cycle of despair, racism and poverty in Chicago, according to a statement.

Andrew was also a victim of violence. On May 20, 1988, Andrew was shot in the chest, piercing both his lungs, by Laurie Dann, a mentally ill woman in Winnetka. Her attack at the Hubbard Woods School injured 5 children and killed 8-year old Nick Corwin.

He partly credits his survival to excellent medical care and recovery resources, which is another area he'll focus on for the victims of violence.

"This is my life's work," Andrew said. "I think of those children, I think of Nick Corwin, who didn't survive that day. I think of the 17 children who were shot and killed in Florida. I feel like they're our personal responsibility."

Now, it's his responsibility to bring together others in this anti-violence effort.

"Everybody wants to help, everybody's tired of living under this cloud and this reputation that we have in Chicago," Andrew said.

Not just for Catholics. He wants to work with other faiths, community organizations, businesses and police.

"There are clearly gaps, clearly opportunities for us to do more," Andrew said.

That includes joining with all those shouting for change after the high school shooting in Florida.

"Listen to young people crying today for sensible common sense ways to deal with guns in society," said Cardinal Blase Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago.

So, how will Andrew measure success?

"By lives," he said.

Related Topics:
catholic churchgun violencechicago crimechicago shootingblase cupichFBIChicagoNear North Side
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