(picture from theurbandaily.com)
The city of Chicago has been the epicenter of street violence for the past few years, especially when it pertains to violence in the Black community. More recently the violence in Chicago has reached national attention as the world has already its mind on focused on violence with the gun control debate. Today I viewed the morning news as always and noticed that the current murder rate in Chicago was down over the past month. In January Chicago experienced over 40 murders, and during the month of February only 14 murders occurred. Many might see this as great gain towards reducing violence, however I believer that it is just the calm before the storm.
Warm weather is something all of us look forward to every year, especially after a long hard winter. When we think of summer we think of kids playing, cookouts, swimming pools, and those timeless trips out to the beach. In the inner city, I get a vision children playing in the streets cooling off with fire hydrants and snowcones. Summer brings out a happy time for all people young and old as we appreciate the warmth of our beautiful earth. However with summer also comes a dark side. A dark side that brings along trails of tears and tragedies, families torn apart, and promising lives cut short. See with the increasing temperatures come increasing violence.
During the wintertime most people are just looking for a warm place to occupy. Our interaction with the outdoors during the wintertime is usually limited to when we need to use a form of transportation. Hanging around in the streets in not practical for most citizens as the cold is too much for human bodies to bear. However when the streets warm, people crawl out of their caves of comfort, and the increased social action of people has one sad reality. That reality is that violence increases with the temperature.
I am sure a social psychologist could create a whole dissertation on this peculiar phenomenon, but I think the most important thing we must focus on in doing our best to end this terrible cycle. As the temperature increases so must our efforts to bring better opportunities to these communities. As we creep out from hiding places of warmth we must pour out into the streets with the rest of the community. We must have events and programs of love to help spread positive energy into our community. We must pass on knowledge of truth and understanding onto our youth. Sitting inside our well air-conditioned abodes complaining about the killing we hear about is not productive. We must get out and get our hands dirty. If you want to fix a problem then you can’t be afraid to get your hands dirty.
The time for us to take action is now, let’s not wait until the temperatures and murder rises before we decide to do something about it. Summertime in the city is a beautiful time; it is a time for us to spend with family and nature. It is a time where we create beautiful memories that carry us through cold winters and long nights. It should not be a time where we have to bury our loved ones because someone decided to use the heat of a gun. Summertime is coming, act NOW.