Grassroots efforts to stop teen violence

Group: Ending violence starts at home
May 21, 2008 4:51:24 PM PDT
A grassroots effort to end conflict in Chicago without guns is spreading through the city. Ministers and community members say ending violence begins at home- and parents may be the best weapon."I want the parents of the block to say this block will be free of violence. This summer not one child will be associated with gangs or drug dealers," said Mayor Richard M. Daley.

The rally cry is heard from City Hall to city streets.

"I think it really begins at home," said Tasha Grayer, parent. "At the home base you have to teach your children the right way to go." Whenever there is violence -- one youth against another -- parents of the perpetrators take a lot of heat. Single mothers usually are hardest hit.

"Single moms may get a bad rap, but it's a true rap. I mean often when you see a kid who goes awry-- there's always that rare situation where the parents were good parents and they still had a kid who kind of messed up-- but more often than not the parenting was flawed," said Kelly Williams, author, "Single Mamahood."

Williams has written two parenting books aimed at African-American, single mothers. She also leads workshops with hands-on tips that are sponsored by The Black Star Project as part of "Parent University."

"We do a lot of things with kids," said Phillip Jackson, exec. dir., The Black Star Project. "But what we found out is that no matter what we did with kids, no matter how high quality the programs were, we couldn't succeed because we could not reach the parent."

The group also organizes parent resource fairs. The main goal is to connect parents with services to help them parent more effectively.

"Parents are doing less we have seen in many of our communities and the results are disastrous. We're for the old days when not only are your parents involved in your life but so are your relatives. So are your neighbors. So was the whole village," said Jackson.

ABC7's News Special 'Stop the Violence: Conflicts and Solutions' airs Thursday night at 6:30 p.m.


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