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Chicago teens question Mayor Rahm Emanuel about city violence

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Recently, 18-year-old Tevin Lee was charged for the shooting of 11-year-old Shamiyah Adams, the young girl killed by a stray bullet at a friend’s slumber party just a few weeks ago.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, shortly after Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy made this announcement, a few teens in the city went in a bit on Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Several upperclassmen at Chicago area public high schools are participating in Greencorps Youth Program, a violence prevention summer youth program. After viewing a garden project on the south side of town, the mayor sat down last Thursday with 20 students for a Papa John’s Pizza lunch held in the basement of the Windsor Park Evangelical Lutheran Church.

I don’t believe Emanuel was quite prepared for the onslaught of questioning he was about to receive.

One teen asked what could the mayor do to expand a Chicago teen’s life expectancy? Another asked what could be done to get more gangs off the corner?

“There’s certain things I can do … I have a role to play… you have a role to play. A big piece of that is what you are doing this summer and what you are doing next year because that has a big impact …what you do with your life is a big piece of it,” the mayor said. This response doesn’t seem to really address the questions Emanuel was being asked.

Lee, the teen charged for Adams’ shooting, happened to be involved with a summer youth program and has been described as “very humble” and “eager to learn.” But Chicago Police didn’t seem to care about these descriptors of Lee.

Another young lady asked what the plan was to alleviate the city of gang violence. “What are we going to do to get more gangs off the corner? We have a lot of gangs standing on our corners which is why so many people get killed, so I was wondering what are we going to do?” she asked.

Unfortunately, the answer the mayor gave the young woman was vague and didn’t really address what she was asking.

“A lot of this is making sure police move these people off the corners where these kids are gathering … folks in the community know who is a member of a gang and part of what we do from the law enforcement side is work with the communities so that they are not intimidated by the gangs,” the mayor said.