Community reacts to youth violence summit

July 21, 2010 1:04:19 PM PDT
Clergy members, students and parents who live near Fenger High are ready for action and they want it as soon as possible.The emotions are so raw that the director of CeaseFire Illinois says anti-violence workers can get killed just intervening right now. And for that reason, Derrion Albert's mother took a minute to meet them on Wednesday.

"I just want to say thank you for everything for all the support," said AnJanette Albert, Derrion Albert's mother.

The mother of Derrion Albert was consoled after thanking a room full of CeaseFire workers who have supported and helped her after her son's murder.

Now, with the teen's deadly beating in the national forefront, she's asking parents, especially those at Fenger High School, to help diffuse the on-going tension in that community.

"They are feeding fuel to this fire, and it's not doing anybody any good. We are going to lose more of our children. They got to stop this...they need to calm down, please, so we can get these babies calm down," said Albert.

But emotions are still running high.

Reverend Jesse Jackson and members of Ceasefire met with Altgeld Garden residents on Wednesday afternoon, discussing possible solutions.

Earlier in the day, one pastor, Reverend Leonardo Gilbert of Sheldon Heights Church near Fenger High was pleased after a meeting with Duncan and Holder.

"They assured us that they are going to work on our behalf and help us with some of the initiatives that are going to be helpful to make it safe for our students to have passage in and out of the community and also the resources needed for the programs that would be helpful in dealing with the core issues of our community," said Gilbert.

The attorney general used CeaseFire as one example that works.

"We concentrate only on the shooters. That's the population we work with...the shooters. Bring us the toughest of the toughest guys in Chicago, those are the guys we want to meet and greet," said Tio Hardiman, Director of Ceasefire Illinois.

Albert's death has been a catalyst on the federal level, although his family would have preferred it any other way.

"It's a start....so hopefully, they can add something or just not talk about it, do something," said Rose Braxton, Derrion Albert's great aunt.

In the meantime, Chicago students who have been working on a "Blueprint for Peace" for several weeks also offered their advice to Chicago Public School representatives on Wednesday.

"We're trying to have peace workers who would serve as a role model for youth....since they don't have it home. They can go to that peace worker and they would be able to help them out throughout their life," said Sara Martinez, Curie High School Junior.

Those CPS students want peace programs that teach students to deal with conflict and gangs. to be part of the curriculum. The students say that effort needs to start earlier, earlier - at least for middle school students. They feel like high school is sometimes too late.


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