BRIGHTON PARK — Community members and concerned citizens of Brighton Park are demanding a meeting with Mayor Rahm Emanuel after a recent spike in violence in their neighborhood.
The folks in Brighton Park: No more cuts. pic.twitter.com/F1Qq6wONsM— Evan F. Moore (@evanFmoore) June 13, 2016
Many in the Brighton Park community point to six people being shot between Thursday and Friday. They also believe there's a correlation between the uptick of shootings and the lack of funding by the city and the state for educational services.
"We have 24 shootings in the first half of the year. The shootings are a wake up call that Mayor Rahm Emanuel's plan is not working," said Sara Reschly, the director of community partnerships with the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council. "He has put very little into violence prevention programs. We need funding to stop the shootings."
Reschly told reporters that many of the shootings took place near schools.
"We have a violence prevention programs that is working," Reschly said. "Some of these programs are funded by Cook County and City Hall. We need twice the funding."
The BPNC's summer violence prevention plan includes: summer camps at five schools in Brighton Park; the Freshman Connection (in partnership with Gear Up) and Leaders of Tomorrow programs at Kelly High School; a summer youth employment program through One Summer Chicago; and adult leadership development programs.
Michelle Leon, a freshman and the student council president at Kelly High School, has seen how budget cuts have affected her school.
"How do you think it's going to turn out next year? Many of my classmates are joining gangs and dropping out," Leon said. "My teachers are doing the best they can. We are demanding that the mayor do something about this."
State Senator Martin Sandoval and Cook County Board Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia along with Ald. George Cardenas (12th) attended the news conference to throw their support behind Brighton Park.
Reschly publicly asked for Cardenas' support in securing a meeting with Emanuel. Cardenas told Reschly he would help.
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