Over 500 people were murdered in Chicago last year. Most of these murders were concentrated in a few historically black neighborhoods on the West and South sides of the city. And most of the victims were under 30 years old.
For many people listening to this show in the comfort of their home or car or while at the gym, it’s probably difficult to grasp what such a high rate of murder and violence does not only to those involved but also to the wider community.
In some of these Chicago neighborhoods, the impacts from violence have been compounded by a raft of school closures. A WBEZ Chicago report found since 2002 over 70,000 children – “the vast majority of them black — have seen their schools closed or all staff in them fired.” In 2013 alone, 50 schools were closed, which was the largest intentional mass school closing in recent history.
My guest today is Tio Hardiman, president and founder of Violence Interrupters, Incorporated and an Adjunct Professor of Criminal Justice. Tio is on the front lines of conflict resolution, restorative justice practices, and community organizing. He has seen what violence does to a community and the way it impacts and is impacted by schools. In our conversation, we talk about the history of violence in Chicago and what this means for children today.