Congressman Bobby Rush

Representing the 1st District of Illinois

The Culture of Violence in America — An Open Letter from Congressman Bobby L. Rush

Feb 7, 2013
Press Release

CONTACT: Debra Johnson
(202) 679-0381

CHICAGO — As I read an article that captured the last minutes of Hadiya’s life tears streamed down my face.  An unknown gunman hopped the fence of Harsh Park and opened fire, the word harsh seemed almost too appropriate for what took place last week.

A week later, Hadiya will be laid to rest by her parents, family, friends, and community.  On Saturday, I will attend the funeral services of Hadiya Pendelton, where a community will mourn, but also celebrate her life and vow to prevent more acts of gun violence that currently run rampant in our streets.

Hadiya and many of our youth’s lives are taken away from them too soon, too often and for senselessness.  I intentionally use the word OUR because as a nation, as a community, as individuals we must move away from a mindset of mine versus yours.  We all should begin to move toward a community mindset.

It is in times of devastation that we begin to reevaluate how we live our lives, what we teach our children, and how we treat our neighbors.  Let us not squander this moment, but let it push us to sow the words community into the fabric of our minds, our homes, future generations and our classrooms.  The word community invites us to embrace our neighbors, our children and our future from a perspective of I cannot prosper without the help of my community.

“Take it from the good neighbors on Oakenwald: if you do nothing the problems of ‘those people’ in ‘that part of town’ can find you — even if you live on a quiet street nobody has ever heard of,” wrote DNAinfo reporter, Mark Konkol.

Let us take the debate beyond votes on the House floor, beyond party affiliation and bring it to the streets of Chicago and to the suburbs of Newton, Connecticut whose families have felt the severe impact of gun violence.

We must simply go back to basics and that is family, valuing human life, the future of our youth and our community.