By Nia Hill
“Chiraq”- the unsought name of this beautiful city, Chicago. Mostly because of the horrendous number of crimes that occur on all sides of town. People are starting to realize that this violence is taking such a huge toll on the city- not only a social toll, but also a financial toll.
According to the Chicago Tribune, from the beginning of 2014 until now, there have been 363 homicides. Many of the crimes took place in various neighborhoods all over the Chicago: West Englewood, West Garfield Park, Austin, (Chicago Tribune, 2014)- the list goes on unfortunately.
If you were to ask any random citizen of Chicago, “Why does the violence occur?”, you would get synonymous answers: most crimes that occur are gun violence and drug related and most of the victims are of young ages. Most adolescents have lost someone due to gun violence, which means their likelihood of being involved in any type of violence increases (CeaseFire, 2014).
Now, how is all of this violence financially related? If we think about it, every time someone dies, a variety of costs are associated: hospital costs, medical treatment, lost wages, missed opportunities, investigation and court costs, and more. Violence does not affect just any individual personally. Violence affects society as a whole. When a person gets killed in a certain community, that hinders people of all incomes, races and backgrounds to move into or invest in that community.
Na-Tae’, executive director and co-founder of True Star Foundation (TSF), believes that the young people of Chicago are involved in violence because of numerous reasons: “being bullied into it, searching for friends or some form of family, seeking out protection from bullies, and looking for financial gain because youth employment and opportunities are at an all-time low”. She also believes that violence takes a huge till on youth and that they might not realize it. They are so used to it that they become unaware of it.
At the end of the day, violence affects everyone. We need to make a change. We need to work together to stop violence in Chicago. We need to be aware that violence in our communities cannot continue to go on, because it will affect future generations. As Valeria Andrews once said, “If you wanna be somebody/ If you wanna go somewhere/ You better wake up and pay attention.”