CHICAGO – Three days after a bullet fired on the a city street pierced a wall and killed an 11-year-old girl playing inside a house, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel gathered law enforcement officials, educators and others on Monday to talk about violence in the city.
Though Emanuel and others said the meeting had been planned for months and the mayor did not mention Shamiya Adams by name, Friday night’s shooting of the girl on the city’s West Side as she made s’mores with her friends brought urgency to the gathering.
“When an 11-year-old African American is shot and killed... that hurts the entire city, the future of the entire city,” said the moderator of the meeting, Matt McGill, a prominent local radio host. “We’re here to make sure everybody knows that.”
Emanuel touched on themes that he and others have repeatedly raised as Chicago grapples with a stubborn gang and violence problem that has been largely responsible for the shootings numbering in the dozens in recent weekends and a homicide total that has led the nation in recent years.
He mentioned the illegal guns that flood the city’s streets, something Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy talks about during his weekly news conferences in which he displays the latest examples of illegal guns seized by a police force that seizes more of them than any in the United States.
And he said resources must be committed not only to law enforcement as they were when the federal government dispatched more federal agents to the city, but to educational and jobs programs for young people that he said have been expanded and will continue to expand.
Emanuel, who visited members of Shamiya Adams’ family on Saturday and who has become emotional when talking about her death, said the entire city has a role to play to give children a chance at a better life.
“These are good kids, really good kids trying against big odds to make the right set of choices,” he said.