I believe that to address or confront a situation, one must have as much knowledge of the situation as possible. The entire City of Chicago is disturbed and heartbroken about the huge amounts of violence that has stolen precious lives in our great city every day. There is no one way to solve this epidemic, and the reality is, we must all be willing to work together to put an end to it.
I believe that the first approach to violence would be to set up prayer teams around the clock. (I would ask for the participation of every church in the City of Chicago to take a shift.)
To further address the violence, I will assign Chicago Police to the same precinct for some length of time, and police will walk and drive. This type of patrolling will build a rapport with the community. Encounters with citizens would be less hostile, and police will not be been seen only as a disciplinarians. I believe that the constant visibility of the police, will discourage and lessen the amount of violence from occurring in our neighborhoods. Citizens must also be educated on how to respond to policeman properly at an early age. I believe that role playing in the schools and the work place, would be most appropriate. I will encourage parents and guardians to reach out for help, for their sons or daughters that may be moving in the wrong direction and report the presence of weapons in their home. I will lobby for better gun laws, but I also will investigate how guns are arriving in the black and brown communities.
I will have one adult and one youth, trained as precinct captains in all fifty wards. A precinct captain would be another set of eyes and ears. They also would become familiar with each house or apartment building, and business in their precinct. I will meet with them quarterly, to address those situations that may need some type of immediate intervention, and to also stay informed about unwanted things, and the things and people that we should be celebrating in the community. Precinct captains will be encouraged to communicate well with their Alderman, and they will be expected to report anything out of the ordinary, such things as the street lights that are out, troubled houses, houses that are not kept clean, drug activity, etc. There will be workshops, conferences, and peace circles centered around topics such as, violence, hatred, and racism. These conversations and dialogues will take place in churches, schools, and work places.
I will reopen more mental health centers. I will call upon the social workers in Chicago to provide counseling to the young men and women, to address this behavior of violence, and to address some possible trauma experience they may have had or may be having. I would also create a large space to hold peace circles, allowing the different gangs to have dialogue with each other, if they are willing. More support groups will be formed for individuals that have lost their loved ones.
I will address unemployment by starting a day labor program, for men and women ages eighteen and older, including ex-offenders. They will be able to work at least thirty hours a week, five days a week. Their primary job would be keeping their community/city clean, such as cleaning parks, alleys, grass cutting, shoveling snow, painting, rehabbing abandoned houses, train stations, vacant lots, etc. This program will be funded by asking business owners for contributions to the program’s fund, and by cutting the overtime for City workers, and by collecting donations.
In addressing homelessness, I first must identify the homeless families and individuals. I will utilize the boarded up, and abandoned buildings that already exist to provide housing. After I have used these properties, I will move to build more affordable housing to satisfy the needs. While planning for our homeless population, they will be assigned a case manager, along with being provided the proper mental health care. The entire City would be asked to donate items for their new place to live. I hope that this is something that we all can participate in, which is the celebration of the homeless population, having their basic needs met.
The first thing That I will to do to address the economic development in the despaired communities, in the City of Chicago, is to tour each of these communities with the 50 Aldermen, and citizens, to determine the conditions and the need for what specific development is needed by conducting an in depth needs assessment. Concerning communities that are functioning well, I will make sure that they are maintained. Some residents in our despaired communities have expressed to me, the need for dine-in restaurants, pool halls, fruit markets, youth centers, playgrounds, skating rinks, book stores, vocational training centers, formal banquet halls, and movie and art theatres.
Every school will be toured and evaluated for their accomplishments, performances, professionalism, cleanliness, quality of food, and safety against sexual abuse, after in which, assessments are completed, modifications will be made according to the findings. It is my goal to do whatever it takes to make every school a safe place, where students may strive for excellence.
I will also consider housing some of the health sciences programs in other City Colleges, other than Malcolm X College, on the west side of Chicago.
I will form a committee that consists of one adult citizen and one teenage citizen representing each ward. The purpose of this committee is to give input directly to the Mayor, to make good recommendations for change, and improvements before they take place in the City of Chicago. I also will form a report card for myself, every Alderman, Chief of Police, Commissioners of every department, and every business that is licensed in the City of Chicago.