“I think there should be more recreational centers to keep the kids involved and more after school activities; and we certainly need more adult participation.”
“What I suggest is more after school programs. I actually taught at the Peace Corps Youth Center on Madison Street for a while. I taught GED classes there and so many of the youth just loved being there. It seemed like a great, safe atmosphere to have a lot of fun and keep them off the street. It was a positive atmosphere where there were things to do. So I think more after school programs are important. Obviously, talking about safety and other ways to spend their time besides hanging on the street is needed. Probably, some family support groups are needed too to make sure the parents are supported.”
Nathaniel Howard, president of MADD Dads
“What I would suggest is more economic resources and more educational funding in our community, and also a lot more men standing up. What I mean by economic resources – I’m talking about jobs, jobs, jobs. We need jobs in our community where men can respond to that and accept the responsibility of being a man. Without that in their lives – jobs bringing money home – it makes a big difference. You feel less than a man when you’re not doing anything.”
On June 13, 1996, Howard and his wife lost their 19-year-old son to street violence as their son stood in his front yard
“What I suggest we should do to prevent future violence in our community is put our youth in more after schools programs. Keep the youth off the street as much as possible [and] really enforce the curfew laws that Mayor Daley is trying to bring back. We should make sure we keep our youth safe – that is the main concern to keep the youth off the street. The people who are perpetrating the crimes need job training as well as jobs. If you give them more things to do, there will be less violence and idle time to get into trouble.”
“What I think we should do to prevent violence in the community is for most people to realize that it doesn’t just affect the families that have lost someone, but it’s a problem that affect everyone. You have to come together and you have to want to change. You can’t wait for other people to change it. It is leadership from everyone, not just elected officials, but business people, that has to come, otherwise, nothing will ever get done.
“I am a firm believer that the structure of this crime and the cause of crime it should be restructured. I believe a person that has something to do an outlet will make better citizens because they have a place they can go and discuss issues. But as long as we don’t have anything for our children to do except run up and down the street it is destine to happen and the climate that we’re living in today. I just believe that if we are really, really concerned about the death that is happening to our children today, which is our future, we would start doing something appropriate.”