* JB Pritzker op-ed…
While gun safety measures and rebuilding trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve is critical, taken alone they will not end the violence.
To end gun violence, just as with any public health epidemic, we must address its root causes by bringing real economic opportunity to the communities affected most. I’m not talking about lip service, but true investment that seeks to build wealth and prosperity. Fostering economic inclusion and expanding opportunities for minority entrepreneurs is critically important. It’s past time that we reverse the trend of disinvestment and restore hope and economic justice to communities that need it most. We can do that by providing capital for small businesses, investing in accelerators for entrepreneurs and workers, and improving education for our young people.
Strengthening communities also requires that we invest in community-based programs working to interrupt gun violence before it happens, and give children and families the tools they need to build better lives. After-school programs, mental health services, and violence prevention organizations were decimated by Bruce Rauner’s budget crisis. These are the tools of prevention and they must be restored to full strength.
And we have to invest more intentionally in public education from cradle to career, to increase the wage potential and economic opportunity of people in communities across Chicago and our state.