Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin called for help combating Chicago violence Wednesday in a letter sent to newly sworn in Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking for more federal money and boots on the ground.
“We must send a signal to these gang members and we must dismantle the gangs—bottom line,” Boykin said. “We must dismantle them. But we also must bring resources in terms of job training and jobs.”
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel agreed with Boykin but says there is a need for action at the state level as well in passing and enforcing stricter gun laws.
“I would like these judges to finally hold these repeat offenders accountable—not do it only when the public is watching,” Emanuel said. “The public is always watching.”
Indeed, the public is watching as activists and community members describe outrage as politicians struggle to find the money to pay for programs and strategies that they say would curb the violence in their neighborhoods.
“While the governor and the speaker of the House [are] talking about his hope for a budget, I’m just hoping we are not going to have to bury another child this time next week,” Pastor Clarence Smith of New Life Impact Church said.
“His blood is now on the politicians’ and leaders’ hands and you or your kid is next,” activist Ja’mal Green said of the 2-year-old’s fatal shooting. “So what are you going to do about it?”
Activists and ministers have pooled $3,000 in reward money for information leading to the arrest of the person or people responsible for the boy’s murder.