Friday, January 13, 2012

Calling on President Obama to Commit Resources to Stop the Violence in Chicago

A 14-year-old boy was shot in the neck while walking to school in Chicago on January 12, 2012. One day earlier an 18-year-old was shot and killed. There is no end in sight to years of violence inflicting Chicago youth and hope is fading. I once again call upon President Obama to respond with full force leadership to this tragic epidemic. My initial request to the President on October 6, 2009 as documented here remains critical:

Vincent Bove Blog/Initiative Request to President Obama on October 6, 2009
When asked in an October 1, 2009 press briefing whether the President was going to address the Chicago violence concerns to the Olympic Committee, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs replied

"Obviously it's of great concern to the President, as somebody who lives in Chicago, but would and should be a concern for every American. This isn't a Chicago problem; this is violence -- youth violence is a problem throughout our country. The President is concerned and has asked that next Wednesday, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Attorney General Eric Holder travel to Chicago. They'll meet with officials from the school, meet with students and meet with the community to talk about the issues of school violence and youth violence."

"Talking about the issues" is simply not enough. It is time for action; anything less is just more politically expedient rhetoric.

I call upon President and Mrs. Obama to establish a Stop the Violence Olympics for Chicago—nothing less than a full-force effort and allocation of resources equal to that of the effort and resources that would have been necessary to host the Olympics. If hosting the Olympics would have been worth the effort, then the saving of lives from senseless bloodshed is so much more worth it.

According to various published reports, over 500 students have been shot, more than 100 fatally, since 2006. Most recently, the beating death of 16-year-old Derrion Albert has captured the nation's attention.

AP Report
3 Charged in Beating Death of Chicago Student (1:28)
<A HREF="">Play the clip on YouTube</A>

These sobering statistics of violence and death in Chicago indicate a state of emergency and beckon an immediate collaborative response from every level of the government and community. The eyes of the nation must now turn to Chicago, not as a city preparing for the Olympic Games but as a city committed to transforming a culture of violence into one of opportunity and hope.


October 6, 2009

President and Mrs. Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President and Mrs. Obama,

Now that lobbying for hosting the 2016 Olympic Games is behind us, a more urgent task is at hand. It is time for an Olympian effort to end the bloodshed plaguing the communities of Chicago.

I implore you to make the elimination of violence in the windy city a top priority of your administration. If we agree that it would have been a worthwhile investment to prepare the city to host the 2016 Olympics, how much more is the value of human life? We must work to find a way to save lives, reduce hostility, and create a national model for the "audacity of hope" in all our urban areas suffering the scourge of senseless brutality.

So I propose that the White House declare a Stop the Violence Olympics for Chicago. As immediately as is possible, an organizing effort should be made on the same scale as would have been necessary to prepare the city for the Olympics. Resources from throughout government, private industry, and the local community must be brought together in a collaborative effort that will serve notice that violence will no longer be tolerated.

In addition, a torch should be lit in the city and remain burning as a reminder and symbol to all that we are serious about bringing change and hope to the affected Chicago communities.

President and Mrs. Obama, with the eyes of the nation and the world upon the devastation in Chicago, the time has come to stand with courage and certainty to answer the question "Can they stop the violence on the streets of Chicago?"

The only answer must be the same as the mantra of your Presidency—a resounding "YES WE CAN!"


Vincent J.Bove


Beating Death Of Derrion Albert, 16, Caught On Video Click here to visit site
508 Chicago Students Shot in 16 Months Click here to visit site
2008 saw increased violence in Chicago, statistics show Click here to visit site
The Campaign to STOP the Shooting
Click here to visit site
Google Search: Chicago Violence Click here to visit site

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