Community leaders renew commitment to Chicago violence prevention programs, $100M raised

Wednesday, July 10, 2024 10:22PM
Community leaders renew commitment to Chicago anti-violence programs
Community leaders renewed their commitment Wednesday to Chicago anti-violence programs with Mayor Brandon Johnson and Gov. JB Pritzker in attendance.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The violent and deadly holiday weekend prompted public officials, the business community and anti-violence groups to redouble their commitment to making investments to address the problem.

A press conference Wednesday afternoon with Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson and Illinois Governor JB Pritzker in attendance. The event came as civic groups reached their $100 million fundraising goal to fund organizations working to stop violence.

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Lawmakers and civic leaders said in light of the horribly violent weekend that Chicago just suffered through, it's time to turn the page. They issued a call to renew the public and private commitments to combat violence with investments in anti-violence programs and in the communities most impacted.

A mass shooting in the Austin community in the early morning hours of July 5 left seven people wounded from gunfire, and one person later died. It was just one of many shootings over the holiday weekend that left has left those fighting to prevent violence frustrated, calling on everyone to do more.

"When you have over 100 shot on a weekend, 17 dead, none of us can say that we're doing enough," Chicago CRED managing partner Arne Duncan said. "Together we have to hold ourselves accountable for doing something much better for our city."

Chicago Police Department Superintendent Larry Snelling said his officers cannot fight violence by themselves.

"I don't want you to go this alone. We have to do this together," Snellings said. "And if we're not working together, we're failing. I refuse to allow us to fail."

READ MORE | Chicago shootings: At least 109 shot, 19 fatally, in citywide holiday weekend gun violence, CPD says

Civic and business groups, that have now raised $100 million to fund anti-violence investments, renewed their commitment Wednesday.

"We will do whatever it takes and we will not stop until children and families are able to live in communities without fear, trauma and violence," Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities Executive Director Esther Franco-Payne said.

Austin resident Gabrielle Meeks is skeptical about how much of a difference violence interrupters can make.

"Hopefully they do," Meeks said. "But I pray, because this community is going down really bad, and I hate to see people get killed, especially these babies."

It happens because generations of Chicagoans are disinvested in disenfranchised and neglected...
Mayor Brandon Johnson

Governor Pritzker admitted the violence is frustrating, but said the private dollars and the state's $250 million multi-year commitment is making a difference.

'We had not put the dollars out there and supported community violence interrupters, and rebuilt the infrastructure because it got decimated by the Republicans. If we hadn't rebuilt it, the problem would be much worse today," Pritzker said.

Mayor Johnson called this past weekend brutal and harsh.

"This violence does not happen in a vacuum," Johnson said. "However, it happens because generations of Chicagoans are disinvested in disenfranchised and neglected, and dare I say intentionally."

RELATED | Chicago violence interrupter programs scale up as summer shootings heat up

Lawmakers conceded there is no quick fix to a problem that goes back decades in Chicago, but they stood together with the the private sectors to say they are resolved to stay committed to save lives.