Sen. Dick Durbin visited Chicago Monday to meet with students in one of the city's most violence-stricken neighborhoods and address gun violence prevention.
Durbin met with students at John Hope College Preparatory in Englewood to discuss the partnership between City Year Chicago and AmeriCorps. The partnership looks to aid students in challenges they face in the classroom, at home and in the community.
City Year currently deploys 206 AmeriCorps members into 24 of the city’s highest-need schools. The partnership serves over 15,000 students daily.
According to the Chicago Tribune, 2016 has seen 1,051 shooting victims and 178 homicides. Students at the meeting voiced concerns about violence in their neighborhoods.
"I witnessed a lot of shootings myself growing up in the Bronzeville area," said Amari Ross, a City Year student.
During the meeting, Durbin also touched on Rahm Emanuel’s selection of Eddie Johnson as the Chicago Police Department’s new superintendent.
“I think it is a step forward that we have a new superintendent and I believe he has the potential of making a significant difference,” Durbin said.
Despite his faith in Johnson, the senator called the city’s gun issue “one of the biggest gun violence in the nation.”
“They find these crime guns are being used over and over in the commission of crimes,” Durbin said. “They are passing from one person to the next.”
Durbin also spoke out against illegal guns sold in Indiana and stressed the importance of background checks.
Prior to the meeting with students, Durbin met with the U.S. Attorney, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms at the Metcalfe Federal Building Monday. They reportedly addressed the daunting nature of combatting gun violence in the city.
“It isn’t like we can pass one law or one appropriation and end this,” Durbin said of the meeting. “It is a much bigger challenge.”
A group of congressmen, led by Illinois Rep. Robin Kelly, visited Chicago last week to launch the Urban Progress Initiative, a federal initiative aimed at reducing gun violence and stimulating economic opportunity.
The group consists of 14 congressmen, including Rep. Danny Davis, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Rep. Cheri Bustos and Rep. Tammy Duckworth.
The group toured “three community-based organizations that have successfully implemented progressive programs and strategies to reduce violence in their areas.”