I teamed up with my long time friend and frat brother, Duane Porter to come up with some possible solutions to aid in stopping the violence in Chicago. Our proposed solution for dealing with some of the ills that plague our Chicago communities is the creation of a "Partnership of Peace" with our community and faith based organizations, educational institutions, governmental agencies, and businesses. This plan is far more extensive than what is presented here but this is just the premise of what we think may work. By building the community, we also build hope, self-love, and opportunity in the form of jobs and resources.
Introducing the 4-part plan for the P.A.R.T.N.E.R.S.H.I.P. O.F. P.E.A.C.E.
1. Establish collaboration between our community and our educational institutions
P - Prepare children at all grade levels to handle Conflict Resolution by including it as part of the curriculum
A - Allow those in our community with stories of trial, triumph, and tragedy to share with targeted students monthly
R - Require community and faith based organizations to serve neighbors while mentoring students and parents/guardians.
T - Train students in governmental process by requires candidates to include students in their campaign
N - Nominate, celebrate, and compensate communities that serve as extraordinary example in the city
E - Expand staff and resources for after school programs
R - Reward teachers with increased salary and free tuition for their children
2. Engage companies to come alongside and improve the condition of communities
S - Service abandoned buildings to be used for round-the-clock usage as Chicago Solution centers and shelters
H - Have abandoned lots to be reused re-purposed as fresh food gardens and markets
I - Install Internet Sites for each Chicago community to serve as the source of communication for all community happenings
P - Persuade businesses and residents to invest in the betterment of their community by financing these Chicago Solution centers, shelters, training, and jobs
3. Encourage companies committed to community with incentives and opportunities
O - Offer tax breaks and incentives to companies that recruit, hire, and reside in urban communities
F - Financially reward companies that train and hire reformed felons with governmental stipends
4. Ensure the safety and security of our communities
P - Provide surveillance and satellite technology to capture any outdoor criminal activity (Not in people's homes)
E - Enlarge police and volunteer presence in high crime communities in the evening
A - Align police officers and community residents by requiring all trainees to attend community and block club meetings
C - Compensate police officers serving in high crime communities with increased pay and free tuition for students
E - Encourage community residents to do community service with tax breaks and incentives
A young lady recently asked me, “What is the big deal with sports? Every time I turn on the TV it seems as If someone is getting arrested or doing drugs.” She definitely has a point; with the controversy surrounding Barry Bonds breaking Hank Aaron’s homerun record, David Beckham mania bringing validity to soccer in the states, NBA referee, Tim Donaghy making illegal bets on the games that influenced his play calling, Tiger Woods being a little too loose with "The Wood," and Michael Vick’s indictment rocking the world of the NFL, the sports world seems like more of an episode of “The Young and the Restless” rather than the awe-inspiring competitive world of superhuman athletes we have grown to admire. Even in the midst of all the drama we are still drawn to the excitement, the struggle, and the accolades that sport brings to our lives.
Muhammad Ali once said, “Champions aren't made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them -- a desire, a dream, a vision.” It is that desire, dream, and vision that we embrace and hold on to. We place athletes on such a pedestal because we see attributes in them that we would like to see in ourselves. For me personally, I feel a certain connection to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. I will never forget when the Chicago Bulls had their first three-peat because it happened on the day of my graduation. To this day, that is still one the greatest days of my life. It is because I directly connected my achievements with those of my favorite NBA team. And just to add to my love of the game, the Bulls accomplished their second three-peat on another monumental day of my life. As my team raised their hands in victory, I was raising my diploma in victory. These are the memories that connect us to sports that keep us coming back for more. Any drug addict will tell you that there is no high like the first one and what makes them an addict is trying to attain the same high once again. That isn’t the most politically correct analogy but it is the one that fits. As sports fans we are always chasing that first high. I’m not a Boston Red Sox fan at all but I did understand the joy they felt when they finally defeated the New York Yankees and went on to win the World Series.
As human beings, that is what we all want. We want to win our own personal World Series. Whether it is marriage, getting the big promotion at work, capturing the dream the seems to elude us, or just living each day to the fullest, we all are in search of our personal treasure. So if you are not a sports fan and you can’t understand why people tailgate or sleep outside to get tickets, then maybe this will serve as a small indication of why sports are so appealing. Sure Grey’s Anatomy is a great show filled with passion, intrigue, and drama but it is all fictitious. Sports provide that same passion, intrigue, and drama but it’s totally unscripted, unrehearsed, and uncut. So when Jordan hit the game winning shot, Tiger sank the hole in one, and Jerry Rice caught the catch to win the Super Bowl, I hit that shot, I sank that hole, and I caught that touchdown. In their accomplishments, we all find a sense of accomplishment so at least for me, that is a BIG DEAL!