Friday, October 2, 2009

Roger Ebert Derrion Albert: Ebert Mayor Daley: Use Olympic Funds to Make the City Safe

Roger Ebert today called on his city of Chicago and Mayor Daley to use funds mandated for the Olympics to make life in the city safe for the city's Derrion Albert's. See video below. See Update below. Clearly praising his city as "glorious," flower-filled," "towering," and "happy," he says: (see update below)

We were prepared to raise millions to prepare the city for the Olympics. Without missing a beat, we should devote our energy to preparing the city for a new generation of Derrion Alberts. This will not require new "infrastructure" and all the delay, bureaucracy and waste that often implies. It will require investment in a resource we have in abundant supply: Human beings.
These are the words of heroic thinking. Most definitely, two thumbs up to film critic and author, Roger Ebert. Derrion Albert is the 15-year-old Fenger High School honor student who was brutally beaten and murdered outside the Agape Community Center this week. The beatings were caught on video - someone videoed it - no information about who caught this terrible, terrible act live as it happened. Four are in custody and three are still sought and need identifying. See the video and read the details here. Ebert knows what needs to be done:
We need to enforce safety, order and civility in our streets and schools, and act quickly. We need more crossing guards armed with cell phones. We need more police, who are heartbroken by the things they see, and need help. We need more teachers, and smaller classrooms.
We need separate schools for congenital troublemakers. I agree with the teacher's union that such students should be transferred quickly, not after months of delay. I trust school administrators and staffs to be fair in choosing students deserving a transfer. The Second Chance Academies must be well-staffed, high-security, and no-nonsense. They should be real schools, not holding pens.
In neighborhoods plagued by gangs or feuding cliques of teenagers, we need to enlist adults to monitor the sidewalks outside their windows, and call immediately when they see trouble.
The last paragraph above is critical, of course. Schools cannot stop gang violence by themselves. Police cannot stop it by sheer force and arrest. Community members must take back their communities. Ebert says "Mayor Daley can do it." That is a great call to action. "Mayor Daley can do it." It fits nicely with the Obama chants: "Yes we can," "Hope and Change," and "Fired up?...Ready to go?" Read more about Roger Ebert here.

Roger Ebert's Story of Cancer Survival (video)

Update 10-2-09:
President Obama's Attorney General Eric Holder is apparently traveling to Chicago, with Ann Duncan, the Secretary of Education to discuss Derrion Albert's death.

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