CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - FOX 32 sat down with Father Michael Pfleger to talk about the need for more options, such as Uber jobs on the South Side, to stop the violence.
It's an issue that has Chicago at the tipping point.
“It’s crazy to me that the numbers are up, the homicides are up, the shootings are up, and while the murder rate is going up, we're getting quieter," Pfleger said.
Pfleger says now is the worst time to stop fighting.
“Are we gonna really settle for a weekend like last weekend, with 9 people killed and 46 shot, as a norm, as an expectation. Well, that's how it is here,” he said.
Since Memorial Day, more than 1000 have been shot and more than 200 killed. Everyone outside of Chicago is talking about it, but Pfleger wonders why our presidential candidates are not.
“This whole focus on the immigration issue is a distraction that has been designed so that we can watch that, pay attention to that and ignore the other issues of poverty in America, homelessness in America, education in America and of violence in America and guns in America. You don't hear any of them talk about guns. You don't hear them talk about the violence. How dare we? How dare we allow them to run for the highest office in this country and ignore one of the major plagues of this country, which is violence,” Pfleger said.
He says the solution is for the state, and the city, to restore resources.
"Last summer we had 1150 jobs for at risk youth for the summer. This summer we have 330. So we turned away well over 900 people begging us for a job this summer. So you cut out all the summer employment. You cut out the violence prevention programs. You have limited opportunities for a child who's homeless. Well, after you get all these doord shut, and there's no opportunities to do positive things and right things, then we should wonder why they get into negativity on the street. They're gonna survive,” Pfleger said.
He says 95 percent of the guys he encounters on the street would walk away from that tomorrow if they had an opportunity.
"And when people say - 'well they gotta value their life' – well, if everything around you is telling you you're not valuable, how do you value your life?! And I think we continue to shut these doors on these young people," Pfleger said.
And to the people who privately complain about the violence, he says it’s time to get mad and get loud.
"I’m gonna continue to fight and be all the louder to our government who has turned its back on young people and to the poor in general," Pfleger said. "Instead of complaining, decide what they're gonna do to offer young people options. How do we get jobs back as opportunities? How do we give viable education opportunities," Pfleger said.