Up Initiative aims to cut gun violence, increase economic development

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Congresswoman Robin Kelly is making a public push to make more known about lives saved and not just about lives lost. (WLS)

Congresswoman Robin Kelly is making a public push to make more known about lives saved and not just about lives lost.

It's called the Up Initiative, targeting the reduction of gun violence and increasing economic development.

Having places like the South Side YMCA of Metro Chicago allows single parents to work.

"You know they're safe, bring them here at 7 a.m. you pick them up at 6 p.m.," said parent Samara Traylor. "Imagine if I wasn't able to bring them. Who'd watch the children?"

Funding for the Up Initiative in part would come from a not-yet-passed, bi-partisan criminal justice bill saving $20 billion over two decades, to fund more programs like the Y's.

"It's about building a strong coalition at the local, state, federal level to increase access to sustainable employment, quality education and training with the goal of safe, stable, self-sustaining communities," said Rep. Robin Kelly, 2nd Congressional District.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel proposes using 30 percent of the bill's billions saved for after school programs, summer jobs and mentoring.

"You get kids off the street corner, and you give them a safe, secure place to do positive, athletic, academic or artistic activities," Emanuel said. "You'll not only reduce the population in prison. You will give kids an alternative to go end up both at high school graduation and on their way to college."

This year alone, Chicago will provide 25,000 summer youth jobs. Congresswoman Kelly says she's tired of hearing about lives lost and not enough about lives saved. Urban progress, she says, will do just that.

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