MARK ALLEN TALKS -- The life and death decisions that Governor Quinn The State of Illinois makes when the same week that they announce the State budget will provide $6 million dollars in funds to breathe life into new downtown communication buildings, while at the same time cutting the desperately needed funds for Father Michael Pfleger at St. Sabina and his SafetyNet crime intervention and prevention programs this summer to help save the lives of Black youth who are dying at alarming rates.!!
Most grassroots activists and organizations who work these urban streets and the desperate economic conditions the create deadly battles for survival, have no where near the amount of resources needed to continue the everyday demands on us to provide hands on crime intervention and prevention help. We have to work overtime also at dealing with the mindset of our at-risk youth and adults who have short temperments which result in increasing senseless acts of violence. The Sun Time Carol Marin ina Sunday June 13th column says its the guns, but more imporant that the guns, or knives, or bats, or golf clubs or beatings, its the ongoing battle for the state of mind of those whose short fuses battling these illegal street economies at the root of the violence we have to be on 24 hour call to help prevent where we can.
With these limited resources trying to prevent violence and save lives we come to know those who have some sort of limited resources that we can draw from to help us out when the calls from from certain areas to intervene in preventing violence. One of those entities was Father Michael Pfleger at St. Sabina who had some snese of limited resources we could help refer people to in times of crisis and as the weather get hotter; access to legitimate jobs is lesser, and the draw to the gangs, drugs, and illegal street economic battles and violences readies, we could lean on Father Mike and his SafetyNet Intervention resources to partner with UNTIL NOW!!
Chicago homicides are up 4% and you would think that Governbor Quinn and The State would know that our only success is the resources to respond, yet in the midst of our plan to use Father Pfleger and his limited resources to address the summer crisis come the letter from the State that The Sun Time Carol Marin quotes in her Sunday June 13th Column,
The State of Illinois says to Father Pfleger -- "Sorry, Father, it said. There's a huge budget crisis and so "unfortunately, the State of Illinois is not in a position at this time to make . . . renewal grants to the Safety Net Works Program."
Summer is here, schools are closing, youth jobs are as rare as icicles in August, and we're out of money.
The Safety Net program deals with 14 high-risk areas across the state, 11 of which are in the city. Focusing on mentoring, crime prevention, violence intervention and more, it seeks to stem a rising homicide rate and save at-risk youth.
Pfleger dialed the governor's office immediately and left a furious message saying, "If we are going to cut out one of the top violence intervention programs as summer begins, then the state better never say another world about concern for our kids for violence."
Black leaders who support Governor Quinn out to be outraged and immediatelky challenge him on these type budget cuts that are now basically death sentences to the youth that we will not be in a position to save with those resources. And when those shootings and deaths occur, here will be a Governor with those symobolic press statements and photo ops with words of "why and how we have to put and end to senseless violence," well maybe we do that by saving one of the most successfull inner city programs that helped to intervene with hands on resources to save lives. But instead, Governor Quinn and The State of Illinois send a letter with then sentence of death to at-risk youth who otherwise could have been saved, but he takes away the funds and says "hope you can live without the help."
Its just hard to understand how a State budget can save line-item funds to provide $6 million dollars to help a Bruce Dumont expand his downtown broadcast museum, while on the southside where Black youth are dying at alarming rates, the same Governor and State budget cant find the money to save Pfleger's program with the proven resources to help keep Black youth alive this summer. I have no problem with Bruce's future building plans BUT my priority is the saving of human young lives.
Governor Quinn want our votes in spite of sentencing our Black youth to death should ignite our insult level, especially from those Black leaders who will try to explain why we should still consider voting for this man, and he cuts program after program that helps to keep our Black youth alive.?? The Governor can NOT issue this latest sentence of death, and continue to come into that Black community with ease with his symbolic Black agenda for support while we have have even more added pressure to do even more with less as our children continue to die, and this Governor can find money for new down the road new buildings but nothing for the "right-now" state of emergency to save out youth from violence and death. Black leaders need to show some leadership and hold Quinn accountable or they can also go somewhere with him and odnt come around here AFTER the next youth dies when you did nothing to save the program that could have saved them.
This is Black leadership at its worst if Black leaders who support Quinn do not publicly hold him accountable for this latest death sentence on our inner city Black youth and ther program that helped keep many of them alive.
Mark S, Allen, Founder/President of The Black Leadership Development Institute, BLDI 449 East 35th Street, 1st Floor, Chicago, Illinois 60616 (773) 392-0165