The issue of gun violence in our nation, our city and our community has taken on a renewed sense of urgency in the last few weeks.
Twelve days ago, our nation was once again witness to yet another mass shooting, this time in San Bernardino, California. Here in Chicago, we were appalled at the police shooting of young Laquan McDonald, as recorded in a recently released police dash cam video.
And, of course, Rogers Park is by no means immune to gun violence. In the past two years, we’ve experienced a rash of shootings, almost all of which involved young men shooting other young men.
As we struggle for answers to the violence, I want to share with you links to several videos, in which the issue of gun violence is discussed and possible solutions raised.
The first video I would like to share is a recording of the Community Forum I hosted following the Chicago premiere of “Chi-Raq,” the Spike Lee movie that focuses on the issue of black-on-black violence on Chicago’s south side. If you have time to view only one of the videos, I recommend you view this one.
The panel consisted of young people and adults who work with young people. After the panel discussion, I turned to the members of the audience to offer their insights. It was a moving, yet hopeful discussion that provided profound insights into the issue of gun violence in our community and offered real solutions to the problem.
I urge you to view this video.
The release of the shocking Laquan McDonald shooting video threw into sharp relief the issues of police violence and abuse of authority. The public rightfully has raised questions about both the Mayor’s and City Council’s response to the specific shooting and the release of the video, as well as the broader issues of police misconduct implicated by this particular incident.
The Mayor called a special meeting of the City Council last Wednesday to discuss these issues and propose a series of measures to reduce and hopefully eliminate incidents of police misconduct in the future. Here’s the link to the Mayor’s speech. His remarks begin about 5 minutes into the meeting:
Following the Mayor’s speech, the City Council convened its regularly scheduled meeting. The aldermen devoted over two hours of that meeting addressing the issues of violence, race and police misconduct arising out of the McDonald case. Many of the aldermen spoke with great eloquence about how these issues impacted their wards.
View a video of the entire City Council meeting last Wednesday. The debate took place during the “Agreed Calendar” portion of the meeting. To go directly to the beginning of the debate, click on the Agreed Calendar link found in the City Council agenda displayed below the video (approximately 52 minutes into the meeting). To view my remarks, drag the cursor to hour 2:24:30.
The furor over the Laquan McDonald shooting has prompted the U.S. Justice Department to begin a far-ranging investigation into the patterns and practices of the Chicago Police Department. I welcome this investigation and hope that it will lead to long-lasting reforms that will promote better relations and trust between the Police Department and the communities it serves, especially communities of color.