By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: . You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Shari Runner Makes Remarks on Continued Gun Violence in Chicago and throughout the Country and is Joined by Senator Durbin at Press Conference

Remarks on Gun Violence

Prepared for U.S. Senator Dick Durbin Press Conference on June 17, 2016

Shari Runner, President & CEO, Chicago Urban League


Good afternoon, everybody. My name is Shari Runner and I’m the president and CEO of the Chicago Urban League.

When Senator Durbin called to ask if I would join him today to talk about the ongoing gun violence that plagues our city and our country, I did not hesitate to say yes … though I certainly wish there had not been another reason for us to need to do so. Our continued prayers go out to the victims and families of those killed and injured in Orlando.

Gun legislation is one of the most divisive, emotionally charged issues we face. And because it is so emotionally — and politically charged — positioning obscures the opportunity for change.

Every day my staff and I meet youth who are afraid to leave their homes, afraid not to join a gang, afraid to live for fear of not.

When is the last time you thought to yourself as you walked out your front door that it might be the last time you do so?

Many of the youth with whom we work carry that fear with them every single day.

Gun violence in Chicago is largely a story of race and geography.   And our access to guns leads to unprecedented rates of gun violence.

For this reason, many people view gun violence in Chicago as an intractable problem and we’ve become numb to it.

It is not … though given our continued failure to stop illegal guns from coming into our city … you have to question if, like historic residential segregation in our city, the proliferation of guns isn’t because of intentional choices made and not made over time.

Without question, gun traffickers and gang members are facilitating genocide on the streets of Chicago.

Certainly society is not responsible for the personal choices people make to pull the trigger; but it is responsible for our city’s failure – no, its willingness — to continue to make it easy for them to get guns into their hands.

And the administration of our laws creates in which carrying a gun is preferable to not carrying one.

Stopping illegal guns and gun trafficking needs to be a city, state and national priority — as much as a priority as denouncing those who feel that they have no choice but to pick one up.

I remember a tweet that came across my timeline last year:

What are odds? 124 #guns stolen in total from #Chicago SouthSide railyard twice 37,500 trains go thru city per/day yet thieves find gun car?

Indeed, what are the odds? It’s like finding a needle in haystack and we have to ask ourselves if someone isn’t directing them there.

On any given day, you hear the buzz on the street that these guns are still coming in to the railyard, operating as a personal delivery service. Again, what are the odds?

We must take the first steps to solving these problems with immediacy and focus. A first step, and it’s only a first step, is to pass sensible gun control laws.  And at the same time it’s imperative that we engage the community to deal with police reform, and job creation, and community investment.

We cannot afford to lose one more life to, intolerance, hatred, hopelessness, apathy, ignorance, or exclusion and of course GUNS.