Monday, May 11, 2009

Kids 'would be safer in Iraq'

Activists urge Obama to help fight student slayings here

Kids are dying in President Obama's backyard, and he needs to do something about it.

That's what a Chicago activist group demanded Saturday as it called attention to the close proximity to the president's home of many of the murders of Chicago Public Schools students this year.

Against a map showing three-fourths of the 36 student slayings this year were within eight miles of Obama's mansion, the Black Star Project said Obama can no longer sit back and do nothing.

"He should not only be concerned as president, he should be concerned as a resident of this community," Black Star executive director Phillip Jackson said at the group's South Side headquarters.

Obama, Black Star members say, needs to address Chicago's rising student deaths as a national priority by providing his hometown with the political and financial muscle to stem the violence.

Jackson called for a $20 billion* "trickle-up" federal investment, which he said could support the anti-violence efforts of frustrated community organizations, summer jobs for youth and other community measures. 

The group said Obama should make anti-violence efforts in his hometown a model for the entire nation.

Jackson noted that since the United States went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq, Chicago has lost far more children than soldiers."We're asking [Obama] to do the same thing for this community that he's doing for Iraq," he said. "Our children would be safer in Iraq than they are a few blocks from his house."


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