There is a tragic epidemic going on in Chicago. As a city we are short changing our most valuable resource, cutting our potential for growth by over 60%. If this resource is not being short changed by city politics, it is being killed off at the hands of our own citizens. What exactly is this valuable resource, Chicago’s babies.
According to the Chicago Sun Times CPS (Chicago Public Schools) has planned to cut classroom spending by an estimated $68 Million Dollars for this 2013-2014 school year. These budget cuts come right behind the 2012-2013 school year that saw 52 Public schools close their doors as students spent 2 entire weeks out of class as a result of the Chicago Teacher’s Union Strike. Where is the love? Where is the justice? As home owners are set to see a rise in property taxes to cover a portion of the CPS debt, we still find our babies on the losing end. Who wins when parents are forced to take on extra shifts and part time jobs to cover rising tax costs? Who wins when children are forced to take public transportation alone after school? Who wins when 52 area schools are closed and children are forced to walk through gang infested streets alone because parents are now forced to earn more money to cover rising taxes to pay for their child’s free and publically funded education? Not our babies, they lose.
Let’s take a step outside of our failing public school system. According to a 2012 article by Chicago Magazine in a poll conducted by NPR it reports, “In Chicago, nearly 700 children were hit by gunfire last year — an average of almost two a day.” 700 children hit by gunfire. We’re not speaking of war torn areas in Iraq or poverty stricken third world countries. Our babies are being killed at an alarming rate. To put it into perspective 6,700 servicemen and women have been killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars in 10 years 1. Please note that this figure refers to the total of deaths in two separate countries. If we multiply the number of children hit by gunfire in Chicago by ten we can compare this to the number of deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan. We can estimate, using the figures reported by NPR, that 7,000 CHILDREN in Chicago have been hit by gunfire in the last 10 years compared to the 6,700 service men and women killed in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past ten years. So statistically we are saying that our babies have a higher chance of being hit by gunfire in Chicago than being killed in a war in Iraq or Afghanistan. Wake up Chicago!
If the children are indeed our future what kind of future will we have? Who will be left in 40 years to pay taxes on the parking meter disgrace that Mayor Richard J. Daley locked the city into for the next 75 years? Who will be left to build the city of Chicago in to the great low crime metropolis that it can be? Who will be left to enjoy the beautiful sky lines and architectural genius of our city? I don’t speak for our children, or maybe I do, but in the words of Jay-Z, Can we live?
- CNN- Amy Roberts and Lindsey Knight. Thursday May 23, 2013. http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/25/politics/numbers-veterans-memorial-day