Chicago Ideas Week: Twitter 'town hall' #WhatIfChicago focuses on gun violence

October 11, 2012 (CHICAGO)

Using the Twitter experiment, city officials reached out to community members for input. #WhatIfChicago asked the question, "How do we get illegal guns off Chicago streets?"

Suggestions were tweeted, and a panel that included Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy discussed them on Thursday.

"We've had 300,000 people engaged in this campaign," said Jessica Malkin, director, Chicago Ideas Week. "The hope is a few of these ideas stick."

"Everybody has to get involved. Your church, your block, your neighbors who see things. When we see kids hiding guns or selling drugs we got to call police. And build that trust up with police," Annette Nance-Holt said.

"This is our town hall discussion," Michael Skolnik said. "This is how we communicate with superintendents and mayors and the president."

@WhatIfChicago, falls in conjunction with Chicago Ideas Week, an event that focuses on the "sharing of ideas, inspiring action, and igniting change to positively impact our world,"

"Having conversations amongst you and your family and the community, is simple enough and everyone can do that," Kelsey Kryston said.

Some who participated in #WhatIfChicago urge more discussion in communities affected by gun violence.

"To me it's people taking off their ties and their Movado watches and saying I need to work with these people and come into the community and not be standoffish," Danielle McConell said.

"Why do they have to have a mega phone and be so far away and talk to us when they could be in our neighborhood and talk with us face- to-face? I think that could be so much more of an impact than being in downtown Chicago," Roger Morales said.

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