Failed leadership within the African-American community contributes to the gun violence in the city, said a retired Army commander who led the country’s Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.
“At the end of the day, our leaders will be judged by what they get done, not by just what they talk about,” Lt. Gen. Russell L. Honoré said Thursday at the Chicago Military Academy.
Honoré met with students from the Bronzeville Military Academy to talk about solutions for gun violence. He said they brought up many great solutions. Those included: instilling the value of parenting back in to parents who have lost their way, the need for more community centers that are free of charge, as well as positive role models and mentors being brought into the community.
The HistoryMakers, a nonprofit educational group, sponsored the meeting. History Makers maintains the nation’s largest African American video oral history collection.
“Because they are emerging leaders, they understand the importance of leadership in the community,” Honoré said of the Bronzeville Military Academy. “We don’t have to worry about these students.”
January was deadliest month in Chicago since 2002.
Students from Prologue Early College High School attended the event at the Chicago Military Academy. The students “are in the middle of all this gun violence in many of their communities, so we just think we have some insight that needs to be shared,” said Assistant Principal Walter Perkins said.
Prologue student Markesha Pratt, 18, shook her head in agreement to everything Honoré said about controlling the violence in Chicago.
“I just feel like we have no jobs, and nowhere to go after school,” Pratt said. “Me as a youth, I feel like I have to pray every day that I don’t die. I fear for my life because there’s so much violence.”
While it can’t be fixed overnight, Honoré suggested looking at history, studying it and taking stock of where we come to get to where we need to go.
“These kids are not broke,” he said. This generation is not broke. It may be a little bent, and that can be fixed with leadership.”
Hannah Cole, Glenn Minnis, and Lauren Gandara contributed to this story.