NIU students address Chicago gang violence

By Ryan Griesmeyer

Chicago has been the city with the most African American homicidal murders since 1970, even surpassing New York and California.

This and other information about gang violence in Chicago was presented by NAACP President Farouk Olayiwola at “Enemy of the Nations Pt. 2” Monday night in the Stevenson South smart classroom.

This event was sponsored by the NAACP and hosted by NIU’s S.I.S.T.E.R.S., B.R.O.T.H.E.R.S., S-Plan, Mite and Kappa Alpha Psi. This event was held in reaction to the young boy, Derrion Albert, who was killed in Chicago last year.

Although he was not involved in a gang, he still fell victim to the violence on his way home. As he walked down the sidewalk, he was attacked by gang members who were fighting in the street. He died after being struck over the head with a 2-by-4 and stomped on repeatedly.

Olayiwola said that after he viewed the video of Albert’s death, he was touched to get involved and help put a stop to such violence.

After the audience had a chance to view the video, several students stood to give their first-hand accounts of gang violence they had seen while at home.

Olayiwola also said that the experience of watching the video made him want to help the victim’s family as much as possible.

As people filtered in, donations were encouraged by the hosts. This money is going to the family for court cases and burial costs.

Racquel Williams, junior communications major, said she is looking to begin a group called “Support Ya Own,” which will have a main purpose of unifying all of the African American organizations on campus.

“People should wake up and notice that [African Americans] are still going through troubles,” Williams said. “Our ancestors paved certain paths, but we need to continue to pave the way.”

The violence that is going on is getting really bad, so people should do something about it now, she said.

Tonight from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Center for Black Studies, Williams will hold a brainstorming session to talk about these ideas and put them into action.