Illinois Governor JB Pritzker declares gun violence a public health crisis and pledges $250 million to communities affected the most as another ferocious week in Chicago gains national attention.
ABC 7 News reports, at least 26 people were shot, six fatally, in weekend shootings across the city. With victims aged 15 to 56 and the upsurge in the number of people attacked the prior week, gun violence shows no sign of deceleration. Violence is also making its rounds on and surrounding campuses in the city. In August, Loyola Phoenix reported that a man was shot and killed a mile away from Loyola University.
There have been three crime advisories in the past few days. Columbia College Chicago released a crime advisory on Nov. 1 of an incident inside a sandwich shop on 630 S. Clark Street close by the campus. Weeks before, another crime advisory urged students to remain alert and travel in groups as the Chicago Police Department investigated a shooting near campus. Several high school students fell victim to gun violence steps away from Chicago Public Schools grounds. Chicago community leaders and students have a history of calling for peace in the city.
In a press release on Nov. 1, Gov. Pritzker unveiled the Reimagine Public Safety plan, joined by legislators, stakeholders, and community leaders. The data-driven and community-based violence prevention initiative focused on violence prevention, youth development, and trauma-based services. “Every neighborhood and every home deserve to be free from violence, and the State of Illinois is making an unprecedented statewide investment in the pursuit of violence reduction through the Reimagine Public Safety Act,” Gov. Pritzker said.
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is among the many who support the Governor’s plan, stating, “History will judge each of us on what we are doing today to stop the violence and bloodshed. This new violence prevention plan is the result of a great deal of collaboration and coordination between the State of Illinois, Cook County, and the City of Chicago.”
The plan comes just as the topic of police shortages made headlines due to COVID-19 vaccine mandates. Newsweek reports the matter would prompt suburban agencies to provide backup in an emergency like a plane crash or tornado. However, Kane County Sheriff, Ron Hain, said he would not send any personnel to Chicago. WBEZ Chicago reports that a judge has since suspended the vaccine mandate for Chicago police offers as the police unions sued over the requirement. The ruling was a victory for police unions as the union boss urged cops to continue to defy the city’s mandate. The association also had a public feud with Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot over time off restrictions.
It’s no secret that on-campus violence is always a hot-button topic we all have to give credence to as people consider different institutions to live and learn. What Governor Pritzker is doing is extremely necessary, and I think other states could learn so much from it. When people are irresponsible with firearms, they must be dealt with in the harshest of ways to help quell that dangerous behavior in the future. Here’s to a future where these funds are appropriately allocated, and we begin to experience a peaceful future in the city of Chicago.
Blavity U Ambassador, Lashaunta Moore, is a Graduate student at Columbia College Chicago studying Entrepreneurship for Creatives. With a bachelor’s in Media Communication, she’s also a freelance journalist & digital content producer who enjoys writing about all forms of news.