The City of Chicago responds to surges in shootings and homicides by expanding policing and surveillance, consistent with a national "war on guns" that, like its predecessor the War on Drugs, disproportionately targets and incarcerates Black men with felony records.
The same working-class communities of color that are teeming with Chicago Police officers and ShotSpotter sensors are also home to a non-profitized violence prevention industry. There are too many professionals working the urban gun violence crisis.
In neighborhoods across the city, as well as inside prisons, invite illicit gun users to share stories, ask questions, and discuss the role of firearms in their lives. Invite feedback from mothers whose children either were murdered or are incarcerated; community partners; public health experts; and elders.
Collaborate with young Black people who routinely carry guns for protection to develop a firearm harm reduction intervention that builds on their lived experiences, their critical consciousness, their leadership, and their instincts for individual and community safety.
Facilitate the growth of a member-based mutual aid association that is modeled on the resource-pooling groups built by freed Black southerners after emancipation, as they mobilized to create self-sustaining communities in which to exercise authority over their own lives.