Community group: Stop the violence

Group asks Pres. Obama for help
May 12, 2009 (CHICAGO) A community activist group is issuing a failing grade in the efforts to keep Chicago kids safe.

At least 36 Chicago Public School students have been killed this year.

Community activists call it a pandemic where more Chicago children have been killed on city streets than Chicagoans fighting in iraq and afghanistan.

They say the society has failed these children and more needs to be done to change the fate of other young people.

School is out for the day. A month from now most Chicago Public Schools let students out for summer vacation. Teenagers will have time and some fear unproductive time could puts them at risk of violence.

"Youth violence is at a pandemic level with almost no response from our federal government," said Phillip Jackson, The Black Star Project.

The Black Star Project gives a failing grade to politicians, police, educators, parents as well as community organizations like themselves. The project points to recent violent deaths of 36 students this school year. Many incidents happened within an eight mile radius of President Obama's Hyde Park home.

Community organizers now call on the president to bring funding to reduce and prevent violence.

This is not a quick fix. The quickest fix is about getting the children engaged over the summer, providing support for the parents and making sure these young people have opportunity.

"It's easy to be reactive and respond to violence after its occurred what we would like to do is to be in front and prevent it," said Cynthia Flowers, Black Star PTA president.

Ronald Holt's son was killed in 2007.

"President Obama does have an obligation to the city of Chicago to address the issue of gun violence," said Ronald Holt, father of Blair Holt.

On Tuesday, Mayor Daley encouraged parents to find activities for their children. He announced activities are available for nearly three hundred thousand kids this summer. And he reminded the audience about nineteen thousand summer jobs.

The city's deadline for summer job applications is May 29. Black Star employed 80 teens last summer but does not have funding this year. Sadly three of their young employees were shot. One young man was killed a month after the summer job ended.

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