WASHINGTON PARK — The mayor urged radio disc jockeys Friday to unite in the call to "put the gun down" in a new media initiative intended to discourage violence across the city.
"Never before have all these people joined together in a single effort," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said at the KLEO Center in Washington Park. "Usually, they're competitors."
Yet he called on radio DJs to speak as "one city, one voice, one message — put the gun down."
"While we may be a city of different neighborhoods, when it comes to keeping our kids safe we are one Chicago," said Tony Sculfield, morning DJ on WGCI 107.5-FM. "There is nothing more powerful than an entire city standing together and speaking with one voice.
"Enough is enough, Chicago," Sculfield said. "The message is simple. Put the gun down." He added that he was "weary" of interviewing bereft parents of murder victims.
"We will open and close each radio program with, 'Put the gun down,'" said Frankie Robinson, DJ on WPWX 92.3-FM. "All radio stations are part of it."
Most of the stations represented at Friday's event were youth-oriented urban-contemporary and Top 40 stations.
Robinson expanded the message to take on the city's "no-snitch" code.
"If you see something, say something," she added. "The whole no-snitch rule, it doesn't apply."
Emanuel said he expected radio stations to pound the message home so that it would have an impact through repetition, much like public-service campaigns on smoking, safety belts and drug use.
"A consistent message has changed behavior and attitudes," he said. "When you say it 1,000 times, from every other angle, and you constantly hear it, it starts to penetrate the conscience."
The mayor said the initiative grew out of recent conversations he had with Rev. Michael Pfleger, in which they decided the best public tactic to combat the city's gun violence would be "convening all these voices." Emanuel called on all Chicago media outlets, including TV stations and news organizations, to join in the initiative, along with artists, entertainers and athletes.
Emanuel repeated his anti-violence mantra on the "four P's": police, parents, prevention and penalties. "We're gonna add a fifth P starting today — pop culture," he declared. He also repeated calls for better education to give all Chicago teens a future to live for.
The event was held at the KLEO Center, with the acronym standing for "Keep Loving Each Other." The agency works at mentoring in Englewood schools and finding jobs for young adults at risk for entering a life of crime.