The Death of CPS Students Reinforces the Urgency of Violence Prevention

February 1, 2024

CHICAGO – 20th District State Senate candidate Graciela Guzmán issues the following statement in solidarity with those affected by the recent shootings of CPS students and supports bold action to address the root causes of crime. 

I am heartbroken at the injuries and loss of CPS students in the Loop and Edgewater. Children going to and from school, nor anyone else, should not have to fear and constantly look over their shoulders. I pray for their families and their communities as they mourn this ineffable loss.

This is a crisis now, as we speak. There is no time to waste. We need to radically invest in tackling the root causes of crime. Families need stable housing, communities need mental health resources, and too many folks live in cycles of poverty that trap and limit their access to basic necessities.  Surely if overpolicing worked, the city with the second most police per capita in the country would show a different result. We know the science, we know the policies.

But we need to do more than just name the root causes of crime. We need to push for policy change that addresses those causes. Paying lip service to these key policies without using our power to advance change only serves to set us back. It delays the solutions we need to ensure that communities are truly safe and no one fears living in our city and state. 

We need to build a system of care that helps us prevent crime and expand the tools we use in community response. It will mean a lean-in to our violence prevention organizations; strengthen the reach of trusted community providers to address community well-being after incidents of crime; and create pathways to appropriately address emergency behavioral and mental health crises.  

We also have to layer a strong anti-poverty agenda into this work. To reimagine and implement public safety means we must also improve access to education, healthcare, homeownership, and wealth-building opportunities to promote economic mobility. We have an imperative to get this right, for our kids, for our neighborhoods, and for us all. 

I am holding those we’ve lost and their families close to my heart and recommitting myself to the struggle for a safer and more just city and state.