Latinos In The Community

November 29, 2007 2:47:09 PM PST
"Ñ Beat" is a series of locally produced half-hour specials featuring Latinos who are making a difference in the community. This episode focuses on Latino gangs and gang violence. Homicide is the number one cause of death for Chicagoans between the ages of one and thirty-four and eighty percent of the killings in Chicago are the result of shootings. With gang violence constantly in the headlines, this important "Ñ Beat" gives an inside glimpse into the world of Chicago gangs and sheds light on some amazing individuals trying to help young people break the cycle of violence and hopelessness. We will meet several present and former gang members, as well as Gang Unit officers of the Chicago Police Department and community leaders trying to give young people an alternative to this all too common lifestyle. Theresa Gutierrez hosts this half-hour special that also features ABC 7 personalities John Garcia and Stacey Baca.

Segments Include:

  • YMCA Street Intervention Program? Kenny Ruiz, the executive director of the YMCA Street Intervention Program, was named Chicagoan of the year in 2004 by Chicago Magazine. This Chicagoan has dedicated his life to helping young people escape the gang lifestyle. Through Kenny, we meet several former gang members including Jose who recently removed himself from this dangerous cycle of violence. We hear his dramatic stories of street crime and murder.

  • Chicago Police Department? ABC7's John Garcia goes deep into the trenches of a gang infested community with a Chicago Police Gang Unit Sergeant. We see first hand some of the crimes and dangers of these neighborhoods. For the last few years the Chicago Police Department has been stepping up its work against gangs. They are combining street intelligence with technology and flooding the neighborhoods?at the same. The department has fine tuned policing strategies like comp stat, the computerized mapping system.

  • Lincoln's Challenge? More than 38 thousand students drop out of high school in Illinois every year. Without the needed skills and education these young people often find themselves jobless, unmotivated, and unmarketable. They are highly at risk for drug use, crime, and chronic unemployment. This is where Lincoln's Challenge Academy comes in. Lincoln's Challenge is a unique intervention program that helps young adults?ages 16 to 18-- turn their lives around. This free, 17-month program is designed to give high school drop-outs the skills and educational opportunities they need to become contributing, self-supporting members of their communities. 60% of its cadets are from Chicago. We meet Jesse, a former gang member, who now has decided to change his life for the better.

  • Cease Fire Chicago? There are many organizations out there fighting for peace in our communities. But of course eliminating gang violence is a very tough challenge and along the way?loved ones are left behind just trying to get through each day. Cease fire is an effort by the communities and the city to reduce violence. Cease Fire works in 15 high risk communities in and around Chicago. This hands-on program diffuses urban hot spots partly by having outreach workers ?some of whom are former gang bangers-- counsel potential shooters into the early morning hours. We will meet several family members trying to cope with the loss of a child or loved one due to gang violence.

    YMCA Human Services
    Kenny Ruiz
    YMCA Street Intervention Project
    1834 N. Lawndale
    Chicago, IL 60647

    Chicago Police Department
    Chicago Police Department
    3510 S. Michigan Ave.
    Chicago, IL 60653

    Lincoln's Challenge Academy
    Lincoln's Challenge Academy
    Attention: Registrar's Office
    205 Dodge Avenue
    Rantoul, IL 61866

    Cease Fire
    The Chicago Project for Violence Prevention
    UIC School of Public Health
    1603 W. Taylor Street
    Chicago, IL 60612
    1-866-TO-CEASE (1-866-862-3273)

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