What Can We Do to Prevent Violence?

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.

Policymakers: we all know there is no one solution, but we have decades of research to help prioritize the changes that will have the most impact. Lurie Children’s has a long history of working with policymakers to improve children’s health. Let’s talk. Our violence prevention and public health experts—the individuals who run Strengthening Chicago’s Youth (SCY) and our Center for Childhood Resilience—believe we should prioritize:

  1. Sustained investment in youth
  2. Equitable access to mental health services
  3. Common sense approaches to gun violence prevention
  4. Juvenile justice system reforms to reflect the knowledge that adolescents’ brains are not fully developed
  5. Sustained investment in strong communities.

We stand ready to work with you to help shape these priorities into concrete policies.

Individuals: if you are ready to roll up your sleeves, there are plenty of opportunities to support the same priorities no matter where you live: become a mentor, attend a Mental Health First Aid training, advocate for sensible gun control policies, learn how to become a community organizer, join or start a block club or volunteer at your local school.

For more information about these ideas, visit Strengthening Chicago’s Youth.

By Patrick Magoon
President & CEO
Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago

Originally published in the Chicago Sun-Times.

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