During an appearance on “America’s Newsroom,” Charles McKenzie, a Chicago community activist, said that although he would like to see the president and the city’s mayor take action and create policies to curb the crime spike, his community cannot wait.
“The mayor can’t do it. The government can’t do it. So who else?”
McKenzie has since attempted to confront the issue head-on, leading a non-profit called Englewood First Responders and gathering individuals in the community to work long shifts in an effort to get guns off the street.
Despite his efforts, McKenzie said it’s difficult to manage the situation with his limited resources.
McKenzie went on to add that his community currently has a great relationship with the high-ranking members of the local police, including the police department commander who offered residents his personal number.
“If we work together as a whole we can get a lot of things done,” McKenzie said.
When asked what he believes are the root causes of violence in the area, McKenzie attributed it to poor economic standing, a lack of jobs, and a lack of public resources – such as basketball courts to keep the youth occupied.
Young adults and teenagers are often driven to crime because there simply is nothing else to do, asserted McKenzie.
“A mind is a terrible thing to waste, so when you don’t have nothing to do—you find anything to do.”
With the proper resources to “motivate” and lift the area’s youth up, McKenzie believes that at least some of the violence can be stopped.
Last Thursday, at least 9 people were shot, including McKenzie’s 1-month old niece, Terriana Smith.
Terriana was shot in the head and rushed to the hospital, where she is currently fighting for her life.
On Wednesday, McKenzie said he talked to the infant’s mother who said the baby was happy and in good spirits after finally being able to eat and breathe on her own.
To McKenzie’s knowledge, nobody has been taken into custody in relation to the shooting.