This post isn't meant to be a dissertation. Its not meant to be a social science thesis, nor is it meant to give a didactic viewpoint of stats and polls. This post is to give my personal opinion of what I view from experience as "A" solution to violence in Black Chicago.
The only hope and solution for at-risk young Black child(ren) is the Black Church! The Black Church has always been a staple in the Black community...from slavery to segregation the Black Church held the Black community together and kept it from dissolving. We fast forward to 2012 and its my personal view the Black Church must step up once again. However, its not slavery and/or Jim Crow it is fighting. This time around its a culture of thuggery, hopelessness, disenfranchisement, and 3rd World like poverty.
Can the Black Church rise to the occasion? Of course it can! There are Black Churches that are and has already risen to the occasion, we simply don't know because the media rather air what bleeds then air pastors who positively lead!
You may be asking..."how can the Black Church" be the solution to violence in Chicago? Its simple, once a person MIND changes then their deeds, thoughts, and actions will change. Once youth/young adults aren't around violence and the promoters thereof is when their involvement becomes minimum and/or nonexistent. The Black Church has much to offer: friendship, love, spirituality, education, recreational programs, and good moral doctrine.
I was raised in church (Bethlehem Healing Temple / 12 S Oakley) however, we lived in the projects and gang/thug culture was more prevalent then my church involvement. As a youth I joined the Almighty Vice Lord Nation. I sold drugs, we took drug spots, and had drug spots taken from us, we shot at people and was shot at by people. By age 17 I was broken. Although I was an honor student who made a double out of high school I was still involved in criminal activity. In my household we made fun of people who flunked or failed. So we were all super smart and hood at the same time.
I told my friends I was going to church...I couldn't handle it anymore. At 17 I was back at the church I grew up in. By 18 I was preaching in church and on street corners and on buses. At age 19 my pastor the late great Bishop Dr. A.C. Richards licensed me a minister. My life CHANGED because my activities changed. My surroundings changed. My friends changed. My habits changed. No longer was I selling drugs on street corners, to the contrary, I was in church around the clock because I didn't want the streets to suck me back in. Below was my schedule as a young baby christian / proselyte:
Monday (6pm Prayer)
Tuesday (Bible Class)
Wednesday (6pm Prayer)
Thursday (Bible Class)
Friday (All Night Prayer till early Saturday Morning)
Sunday (Sunday School, Sunday Service, The After Party)
I kept myself busy in church. I fasted every Tuesday and Thursday 12 Midnight - 4pm. I often went on 3 day fast as well. I purged myself of my past. I sat under my pastor the late great Bishop Dr. A.C. Richards. He taught me manhood. He was my best friend. He taught me how to manage, deal and cope with life. He taught me the importance of being humble yet strong. He disclipend me. He corrected me. He led and fed me as a young sheep. With a master's grip he raised me, and others just like me. He is gone but not forgotten. The point I'm making is when one change their mentality relative to their lifestyle then GOD steps in and does the rest. The Black Church is the perfect arena for cast outs, hopeless people, rejected people, depressed people (making) them better people, thus changing the World or simply changing their personal World.
As of now at-risk youth/young adults are adhering to the code of the streets. The streets have their own Bible and Koran. The streets has its own Constitution. The streets has its own religious doctrine. Once a person allows his/her mind to be cleaned of street doctrines is when their life will change...find a good church, attend as much as possible, join the brotherhood or sisterhood of your church, follow your pastor everywhere s/he goes, listen to your pastor with the same loyalty you listened to your former gang chiefs: 3 and 5 Star Universal Elites, Incas, Governors, Regents, Ministers, Coordinators, Enforcers, etc.,
Please understand as a young baby Christan you will make mistakes, your old friends will make fun of you, it will seem hard for you too adjust but through it all stay focused! Your church involvement is going to clear your head. You're going to re-enroll in school, look for a job, find a job, become a better father/person... I see ELEVATION in your future! Who knows...you're probably the next Pastor John Hannah, Rev. Michael Pfleger, Dr. Leon Finney?