In the New York Times, Tina Rosenberg writes about the READI Chicago Program to help young men caught up in criminal activity find legal work. It's run by Heartland Alliance and is one of the four core strategies to reduce gun violence funded by the Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities.
Rosenberg, who founded Solutions Journalism Network, which reports on responses to social problems, writes:
The conventional wisdom is that a young man who is part of the gang life in a violent community, standing on a corner, perhaps selling drugs, does so out of choice. On the corner he makes money. He's respected and feared. A minimum-wage job picking up trash in the park? That's for chumps and losers.
That conventional wisdom might be wrong. The reasons the young man stays on the corner might be completely different from what we imagine. He might, after all, want that park job, and want to get off the corner, but not know how.
Baten Phillips's job is to show him how.
Rosenberg also wrote an earlier piece in the Times about Cure Violence, an ongoing effort to "interrupt" street violence. It's currently in 21 cities across America, including Chicago.
If you are an employer, you can hire young people at risk. If you are a community leader, you can help improve police-community relations. If you are a health care provider, you can support trauma-informed care to gun violence victims. If you are a funder, you can support any one of these efforts. Whatever you do, your voice matters when you speak up in support of policies that can make our neighborhoods safer. Reach out to learn more.