As a pediatric emergency medicine physician in Chicago, I have had the sad responsibility to care for children and adolescents who have been shot. It is heartbreaking to come to work and see a slew of news trucks outside our hospital reporting on the latest child who has been shot. As an injury prevention specialist, it is unacceptable. If we begin to treat violence as a health equity issue and truly come together to address the root causes, we can reverse this pattern and secure a safer tomorrow for our children.
What can I do?
Many of us at Lurie Children’s have heard this question the past week—in our hallways, commuting to and from work and at our kitchen tables. The murder of 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee and the release of the video of the police shooting of Laquan McDonald have led to a new sense of urgency for Chicagoans. We know how you feel. Anxious. Uneasy. Eager for change. But what can we do?
The short answer: it’s time for each of us to roll up our sleeves.
With the goal of educating and raising awareness on effective ways to reduce and prevent youth violence, SCY encourages everyone to take action to prevent violence through our Focus on Five:
- Sustained investment in children and youth
- Equitable access to high quality mental health services
- Common sense approaches to gun violence prevention
- Juvenile justice system that reflects what we know about adolescent development
- Sustained investment in strong communities
Download and share SCY's Focus on Five.