After weeks of countless shooting-related deaths in Chicago, hundreds gathered at Chicago State University on Friday for the Emergency Summit on Urban Violence, led by the Congressional Black Caucus, to discuss finding a solution to gun violence throughout the city and nation.
Although murders and shootings are down this year compared to 2012, it has been difficult to ignore the high number of deaths in Chicago brought on by gun violence — most notably this past Fourth of July weekend in which 74 people were shot.
“With all due respect to Newtown and Arizona and the mass murders, we need to have voices for the urban areas and for urban violence,” said U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly on Friday. Kelly was joined by Congressional Black Caucus members — Maxine Waters, Bobby Rush and Danny Davis — along with Chicago’s mayor Rahm Emmanuel and the Rev. Jesse Jackson.
“We’re beating the drum, and I know I’m not going to let this die because we’re losing a generation of young people,” Kelly said. And her statements are far from exaggerated. A recent study in the American Journal of Medicine found that homicide is now the leading cause of death in young black males in America.
While it’s imperative to find an end to the senseless killing, summit attendees admit that the issue is complex with no simple solution. “It’s poverty, it’s school closings, it’s a lack of good education opportunities, it’s a lack of jobs and opportunity to work, it’s the need for parenting, it’s need to rebuild the infrastructure and so all of these things become a part of the comprehensiveness of violence,” Rep. Danny Davis said, according to the Sun-Times.
According to NPR, the Chicago summit may eventually be followed up by a national tour to other U.S. cities dealing with the overwhelming gun violence like Baltimore and New Orleans.