skills. I spoke with one woman who had spent 17 years in prison for murder, and learning how to repair computers. “I can now learn a skill as I try to build my life back,” she said as she began reassembling a desktop.
A visit to the Inner City Youth and Adult Foundation revealed yet another neighborhood gem working to help formerly incarcerated persons rebuild their lives. There I met Anthony Porter, a formerly wrongfully incarcerated Black man who was placed on death row, Maurice Perkins and his wife who run the organization, and Marilyn Pitchford, program manager and outreach worker for Ceasefire. They, too, agreed that there is a quiet revolution currently going on in Chicago, where heroes have been coming together to provide life building services to the formerly incarcerated, and youth with the intentions of preventing violence, especially those that lead to homicides.
However, most of the organization are straining on limited funds and resources and are calling for assistance. “We are putting our lives on the line to do the work that needs to be done on the streets. We need people to join us and invest in our communities to save the lives of our children,” Pitchford stressed.
NOTE: On Tuesday, April 9th, the author will be leading a discussion on why murders have declined in Chicago. All are invited to attend. The event will take place at Chicago State University's Douglas Hall in Room 103 from 12:30-2:00pm.
Dr. Peter K. B. St. Jean is the Executive Director and Founder of Peaceful World Movement, an adjunct professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at Governors State University and University at Buffalo Department of Sociology, and the Coordinator of Pathways to Responsible Fatherhood at Haymarket Center, Chicago. He is also the author of Pockets of Crime: Broken Windows, Collective Efficacy and the Criminal Point of View.