“Violence: Black in America” town hall Tuesday night

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State Rep. La Shawn K. Ford and other community leaders invite residents to join them Tuesday evening for an emergency town hall meeting.

The 5 to 8 p.m. Aug. 28 event at Christ the King Jesuit College Prep High School, 5088 W. Jackson Blvd., is scheduled in response to a 73 percent increase in homicides in August 2012 compared to this time last year, according to Ford’s press release.

“If we are to achieve success in building vibrant, healthy communities for everyone in our society, we need to come together to find ways to reduce violence, especially in black-majority communities on the West and South Sides where most of the violence and killings occur,” Ford said.

“Even in this difficult time when law enforcement and human service resources from government are being cut, we can come together to channel our anger to bring forth new ideas to reduce violence for those who grow up and live as black in America,” he said.

According to the release, the inmate population in facilities of the Illinois Department of Corrections is more than 58 percent black, and the large number of young black males with criminal convictions is a well-recognized phenomenon, most of whom return to high-crime areas. The unemployment rate for blacks in Illinois is more than 17 percent, compared to 8.2 percent for whites.

“Until the state of Illinois lives up to its constitution and addresses the social and economic problems in black communities, the cost to Illinois taxpayers for the many programs operated or funded by the state will only increase,” Ford said.

“We are looking for ways to improve conditions for poor communities by finding ways to improve education delivery, reduce unemployment, grow and start businesses, and improve the overall delivery of state services, keeping the promise of the constitution of the state of Illinois.

For example, stronger partnerships can be built with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity,” he said.

The event is open to the public, and concerned residents will be allowed two minutes each to address the panel.

For more information, contact one of Ford’s constituent service offices; call the Oak Park office at (708) 445-3673 or the Chicago office at (773) 378-5902, or visit the lawmaker’s web site.

Community partners for Ford’s town hall include: Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, Illinois African American Family Commission, NAACP, Urban League, Heartland Alliance, Illinois Department of Education, Illinois Department of Corrections, Illinois Department of Employment Security, Illinois Department of Public Health, Chicago State University, Black Star Project, Black Wall Street, TBTNEWS Service, Wiley Resource Center, National Block Club University and Christ the King Jesuit College Prep School. Individual supporters include Dr. Damon T. Arnold, Dr. Terry Mason, Phil Jackson, Mark Allen, Pastor Robbie Wilkerson, Carl West, Syron Smith and Melissa Williams.


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