“Stop Killing People” in Chicago

It’s a national scandal that we’re failing to protect our children.

It’s the slogan of CeaseFire in Chicago, where gun violence has claimed the lives of close to two dozen school children already in 2008.

Is gang violence a disease? There’s no doubt that its deadly effects are rampant among America’s urban youth, as Alex Kotlowitz reports in his riveting article in the May 4 New York Times Magazine.

Dr. Gary Slutkin, founder of CeaseFire, calls violence an epidemic, and he’s seeking a cure on the grass-roots level.

CeaseFire, an initiative of the Chicago Project for Violence Prevention founded in 1995, takes a community-based public-health approach, working with Chicago leaders, clergy, community, and law enforcement on strategies for violence reduction.

As in many other cities, violence overall is down in Chicago — but not violence affecting children. In 2007, 32 children were killed. Often, they’re caught in the cross-fire of gang warfare.

It’s gotten so bad that Chicago parents have banded together to form Operation Safe Passage to escort kids to and from school.

It’s a national scandal that we’re failing to protect our children. While individual communities and groups, like Slutkin’s in Chicago and Safe & Sound Community Partners in Milwaukee, are taking violence-reduction strategies to the streets of their cities’ toughest neighborhoods, we continue to lose innocent children and to allow kids to grow up feeling vulnerable the moment they step our of their homes.

What strategies work? Which cities are saying no to the gun madness? Share what you know about how to end the epidemic with Rooflines‘ readers.

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