African-American Leaders to Unveil $400 Million Plan to Reduce Chicago Violence


    Boys and Girls Club of Dane County CEO Michael Johnson will join community activist Reverend Carey Gridon and other concerned African-American men to unveil a $400 million proposal to reduce gun violence in Chicago on Thursday, Johnson said in an open letter to President Donald Trump and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel posted to Facebook Monday.

    Johnson, a Chicago native who now lives in Madison, wrote in the letter, “concerned African-American men will present a 15-Point Violence Prevention Framework at the front steps of the Chicago Police Department Headquarters as our proactive approach for the city. We will call on the both of you to commit to systematic resources to make these changes sustainable through collaborative public, private and community partnerships that will bring our communities of color and law enforcement agencies together.”

    Rev. Carey Gidron
    Rev. Carey Gidron

    Johnson laid out a 15-point plan similar to the one recently approved by the Madison Common Council. The plan for Chicago calls for $400 million to be redirected from the correctional system “to support local businesses that will train and hire thousands of inner city young men at the cost we pay as taxpayers to incarcerate non violent offenders over a four year period.”

    Michael Johnson
    Michael Johnson

    “I recently served as a co-chair on a working group of volunteers and consultants that presented recommendations to the Federal Bureau of Prisons with former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas and other education reform leaders from around the country,” Johnson wrote. “We made recommendations to the Department of Justice and our team visited prisons all over the country to address similar kinds of issues and we have a team ready to help you repurpose federal dollars to fund this plan in Chicago.”

    Johnson’s 15-Point Plan, details of which will be unveiled Thursday, includes:

    1. Re-Purpose Funds to Employ Thousands of Inner City Men
    2. Train & Develop Peer Support Coaches for Violence Prevention
    3. Train & Develop Peer Support Coaches for Recidivism Reduction
    4. Engage Youth in Providing Solutions with Chicago Peace Project
    5. Awards and Protection for Witnesses (Reporting Violent Crimes)
    6. Employ Thousands of Youth During Summer Months
    7. Lobby for Policies that Address Social Justice Issues
    8. Provide Mentoring & Executive Coaching for Inner City Men in the Workplace
    9. Provide Alternative Sentencing for Non-Violent Offenders
    10. Provide Mental Health Therapy for Families
    11. Provide Court Advocates for Low-Income Individuals Ages 25 and Under
    12. Build New Community Centers in Targeted Neighborhoods
    13. Fund Robust Functional Family Therapy Programs
    14. Provide Parent Management Training Classes
    15. Create Basic Need Fund for New Emerging Workers who struggle with housing and transportation issues.

    The announcement comes as gun violence in Chicago is on the rise, prompting President Trump to threaten to “send in the feds.

    “We will deliver the full plan to the Mayor’s Office on Thursday and hope you will use the framework to begin to address these critical issues with the support of the White House,” Johnson wrote.