'Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Holy Bible: King James Version; Proverbs 22:6). Stop the violence young people. On behalf of all the families who have lost what could have been a doctor, lawyer, teacher, engineer, nurse, entrepreneur...You get the picture. Please, stop the violence!
Chicago's Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been working the beat to solicit support and promote awareness of programs to aid in violence control among the youth population in Chicago. Mayor Emanuel has appeared on The Steve Harvey Morning Show with Steve Harvey as well as Windy City Live with Val Warner and Ryan Chiaverini this month to discuss initiatives the city has put in place to positively engage and impact their precious commodities. Among these programs is B.A.M., which is an acronym for Becoming A Man. The mission is to educate young men on becoming a productive citizen of society and living a violence-free, responsible life-style. During his interview with Steve Harvey, he agreed to collaborate with Steve for tips regarding mentoring programs. Mr. Harvey does an annual male mentoring program in various locations throughout the United States (steveharveymentoring.com). Certainly, this would be a powerful collaborative.
Mayor Emanuel also shared plans for a basketball program in collaboration with NBA Hall of Famer, Isiah Thomas (cityofchicago.org/hoops), who spoke of youth needing greater access to educational information rather than focusing strictly on sports and entertainment. 'Knowledge Is The Key' (Kevin 'WAK' Williams). Mayor Emanuel states: "We're going to unlock that door. If they walk through that door, they're looking for an alternative." The mayor also spoke of partnering with numerous churches to provide 500 summer jobs for Chicago youth. The mayor of Chicago is unlocking the door. It is up to the youth to enter. It is up to parents to encourage them to enter, even if it means taking them by the hand and walking them into the unlocked door. It is up to communities to re-visit the concept of 'It Takes A Village.' The city of Chicago is holding the youth accountable with the help of parents, community leaders, churches, schools, the judicial system, celebrities, and anyone who believes 'He/She Ain't Heavy.' Chicago screams enough is enough! Young people, Re-construct, Empower, and Strengthen Yourself. Spread your wings and fly. (The Construction Zone: Re-building Our Youth - Re-building Ourselves)
In conclusion, there are numerous activities and programs Chicago youth can get involved in. Metropolitan Family Services has an African American Male Initiative program (AAI). They also partner with community leaders and colleges to host an annual event called 'Breaking the Barriers: Real Men Moving Forward' which has engaged over 400 young men in educational seminars. In addition to focusing on young men, the agency has engaged young women in the 'I Am Queen' workshops (www.metrofamily.org). This is just to name a few. However, there are numerous organizations and programs that have taken the plight of the youth population to heart as they work to reduce violence in Chicago. Young people, Enough Is Enough.