Building a Better Chicago

A letter to the editor at the Chicago Tribune, from two Midtown students, ran online on September 4 and in print on September 8. Daniel Annor & Alex Munoz participated in Midtown's PR/Journalism Apprenticeship this summer. Their letter offers some constructive criticism of the current climate in Chicago neighborhoods as they start back to school today.

Letter: Develop programs for youth to help prevent violence

Chicago construction signs read, “Building A Better Chicago.” It is time to live up to those signs.
— Midtown PR/Journalism Apprentices

Every day the news media report shootings, murders and other violent crimes. As high school boys growing up in Chicago, these things happen around us regularly, and the violence hurts us emotionally. People say, “It’s another typical weekend in Chicago.” However, nothing is typical when you know people who have been affected.

We’ve lost friends from elementary school who have been caught in crossfire and eventually died. It’s hard attending funerals and seeing families cry. They were our age and we grew up together since second and third grade.

Gang and gun violence has been hurting poverty-stricken areas for so long that many people feel there is no solution. Areas with high crime need to develop programs, mentoring and job opportunities for youth to prevent violence in the community. Programs like the one we attend at Midtown Center for Boys help teach values and give us opportunities outside of school to be active, learn new things and stay off the street.

If police officers take time to interact with the community, they can build relationships and establish trust with the people. Community leaders also need to work with law enforcement to educate communities about the problems that plague our communities. Raising awareness and increasing support of education programs would help prevent violence, and help keep teens away from gangs and drugs.

It will take government, law enforcement, community leaders, civic organizations, local businesses and youth to build a more peaceful city.

Chicago construction signs read, “Building A Better Chicago.” It is time to live up to those signs.

— Daniel Annor and Alex Munoz, Chicago

A copy of the print edition of the students' letter to the editor