CHICAGO — Two congressman hope the public can help come up with solutions to curb Chicago's violence. U.S. Reps. Danny K. Davis (D-Chicago) and Bobby Rush (D-Chicago) said they hope to get public feedback at a July 26 summit on urban violence at Chicago State University.
"We will be there for as long as it takes to come up with ways to stop the killing," said Davis, whose district includes the Austin community on the West Side.
The summit begins 9 a.m. at the Emil and Patricia A. Jones Convocation Center, 9500 S. King Drive, according to Debra Johnson, a spokeswoman for Rush.
"This is a problem not just happening on the West Side or the South Side but all over the country. It is a growing problem especially in black and Latino communities where we our losing youth one by one on any given day," added Davis. "If you are tired of going to funerals and reading about senseless killings like I am then you will attend the summit and bring ideas with you."
More than 10 people were killed and 60 shot during the Fourth of July weekend bringing Chicago's murder toll to a little more than 200 for the year. The holiday "blood bath" was too much to deal with and the killings needs to stop, said Rush, who attributes youth violence partly due to unemployment.
"I have been working on stopping the flow of guns not only into the streets of Chicago, but the nation for many years. If you really want to solve these problems then let's sit down and have a comprehensive and meaningful discussion and let's begin with summer jobs," said Rush, whose district includes the Grand Crossing neighborhood on the South Side.
The old mentality of locking up criminals and throwing away the key is outdated and ineffective, added Rush.
"If' you're going to ask for $30 million to give to the FBI or the Chicago Police Department to sweep down and pick up 1,800 young, black men off the streets, then where is the money to employ some of these same black men?" said Rush, also a minister. "Jails are teeming now with African Americans and Latinos, but mostly African Americans who are locked up in these prisons all across the country and that has still not addressed the problem of gangs, drugs and violence."
He added that newly elected U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Chicago) would join both him and Davis at the summit alomng with other community stakeholders.
"We are calling for a national Emergency Summit on Urban Violence that will address the causes and discuss solutions to put an end to gun violence and bring about change in our cities and in our nation," Rush said.