From the CEO's Desk
You may have heard in recent months that the crime rates in Chicago have dropped. Although I applaud all of the efforts in helping make this happen, this statistic is missing a critical piece of the puzzle. While crime rates have gone down, the murder rate in the first six months of 2010 in Chicago increased compared to the year before. At the end of June, 2010 Chicago police seized 4,241 weapons from the streets. 155 of these weapons were high powered assault weapons that have been responsible for many of the mass murder sprees that we have experienced in this country over the last several years. With the recent shooting of an Arizona congresswoman, these assault weapons have proven once again that they are capable of killing and injuring many people in a matter of seconds. If 155 of these were pulled from the streets of Chicago, can you imagine how many remain? The leading cause of death in this country for African-American teenage males is homicide. This is a staggering statistic that is unacceptable in a civilized society.
This is not intended to scare or discourage you. I bring this to you as a way to help educate you as to what is happening in this city that we all love so much. We at UCAN see the pain, the heartache and the destruction that this continued, relentless violence is having on our youth, our families and our communities. We know firsthand how devastating this is to the future of our youth. They need our help now more than ever.
UCAN continues to build strong programs aimed at reducing the violence experienced by our youth. We believe that 2011 will bring about continued excitement and change as we develop our Chicago Institute for Transforming Youth (CITY). CITY starts with the premise that youth, their families and their communities have an innate desire to improve. This is an all-inclusive approach to transforming youth through a variety of services and programs with a focus on youth leadership and responsibility.
We remain positive and hopeful because despite the violence and difficulties that we see we also witness the incredible power of healing and success that our youth accomplish on a daily basis. We believe that youth who have suffered trauma can become our future leaders. It is our hope that CITY will give us an opportunity to help support even more of Chicago's at-risk youth to realize their potential.
Thank you for your belief in UCAN and for continuing to support our youth.
Thomas C. Vanden Berk
Chief Executive Officer