Good evening, I’m Dave Savini. Welcome to CBS News Chicago, where we reach our viewers on TV and our Digital streaming Network. For several years, the city of Chicago has been dedicated to finding new ways to decrease gun violence.
Much of the focus has been on Grassroots organizations with boots on the ground. Since Mayor Brandon Johnson’s inauguration earlier this year, $2.5 million has been invested into these organizations.
Today, some of them gathered to discuss their efforts and evaluate their effectiveness. CBS 2’s Darius Johnson spoke with those who are determined to be part of the solution. The ongoing conversation about ending gun violence in Chicago continued today within the walls of the UIC forum.
These individuals are working tirelessly to change the perception of the city as a place plagued by violence. They engage in heartfelt and meaningful conversations, hoping to bring about positive change. Their vision is for a thriving, peaceful Chicago where everyone can coexist harmoniously. Strides for Peace organized the first gun violence prevention Expo, which brought together nearly 50 non-profit organizations from all corners of Chicago. The participants discussed what strategies are proving successful and what areas still require improvement.
Lack of funding and comprehensive data were identified as major obstacles hindering progress in combating gun violence. Kim Smith, from the University of Chicago crime lab, highlighted the importance of data in identifying the areas where resources need to be allocated.
A local success story was also shared, with Bright Spot, an organization providing intense crisis outreach and mental support, reducing violent crime recidivism by nearly 50% through a six-month program. This program not only improves school engagement but also helps identify those who are most at risk of becoming victims. One person who knows the pain of losing a loved one to violence is Maria Pike, whose son Ricky was killed in Logan Square 11 years ago. Maria, now on the board of directors for Chicago survivors, emphasized the need for healing and support for all those affected by violence.
Despite her ongoing grief, she has turned her pain into purpose by helping others navigate their grief. Maria strongly believes in the interconnectedness of all families in Chicago and the importance of contributing to the overall well-being of the community. While we have heard from some of the participants at the Expo, there were also individuals who attended in search of help. I spoke to a woman who came simply to learn how to cope with grief after losing a loved one.
She was able to connect with a couple of resources that she hopes will make her journey a little easier. Reporting from the University of Illinois Chicago campus, I’m Darius Johnson for cbs2 news..