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Pullman Porter Museum Convening Meeting to Develop Partnerships to Address Youth Violence
By: A Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum
The meeting is being co-convened by Randolph’s Dream, a new Community Development Corporation and Chicago’s Young & Powerful Group, a collective of leaders ages 21- 35 who have dared to tread nontraditional paths to success. Using politics as a vehicle, they’ve worked to influence national and local elections since 2008, when they worked to get President Barack Obama elected. They have broadened their mission to combat the violence plaguing our community.
In making the announcement, David Peterson, Jr., Museum President, said that this emergency meeting is aimed at creating a workable alliance with the community,and at developing an implementable plan. He says bringing all interested parties together is critical to finding alternatives to grappling with the youth violence plaguing our communities. He says it is one of three thought-provoking gatherings where all will combine their resources and passions for the betterment of the community.
Declared Peterson,“This is an emergency strategy meeting to discuss violence in our communities and to collaborate on ways to jumpstart Cultural Economic Development using the Museum’s mission to promote History and the Cultural Economy. Working with our Alderman, we all must work towards taking tangible action steps for positive change before summer hits.”
Peterson has invited a broad-based coalition of clergy,elected officials, business owners, homeowners,concerned community residents and constituents who have an investment in the community. He also reached out to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Congresswoman Robin Kelly, City Treasurer Kurt Summers, Maze Jackson, State Representative Ken Dunkin, 9th Ward Alderman Anthony Beale,Reverend James Meeks, State Representative Elgie Sims,State Representative Marcus Evans and Cook County Commissioner Deborah Sims.
The initial meeting, said Peterson, is designed to launch a Community Recommitment Movement and Community Economic Development Power Project (CEDPP).The focus is to build community partnerships in local neighborhoods and to encourage stronger community involvement. A secondary goal is to form a Pullman Think Tank that will create a concrete implementation strategy.
Peterson will also use the occasion of this initial emergency confab to introduce an innovative program to engage youth. The initiative draws from the Museum’s tools: history, heritage and culture and is part of Museum 44, the youth and young adult program division. This innovative initiative, which draws from Hip Hop, has been effective in reaching a growing number of youth the Museum engages on a daily basis. The program draws from culture, including music, to connect with youth. Since it was introduced in 2012, the Hip Hop-inspired program has moved the young people from the street culture to the Museum culture. In the process, it has tapped into young people’s talents, boosted their self-esteem and given them purpose.
Peterson will appeal to the attendees to work with the Museum to expand this program, which is a model for stemming violence. Participants will also focus on economic-development strategies to prevent violence in the upcoming months and year round.
Peterson said all are urged to attend, including the elders whose wisdom, perspective and keen insight represent the foundation of the community’s survival. He said the first meeting will serve to unveil the strategy. The second phase of this effort will be The Community Re-Commitment celebration at the museum on June 20th . Following that meeting, the Museum will host its first annual Juneteenth celebration. A third meeting will be held in late June at the museum where the plan will be activated.
Peterson said the Museum’s leadership and involvement in this brainstorming meeting represent the Museum’s realization that it is inextricably bound to the community and must partner and use its tools and resources toward its betterment.
Explained Peterson, “Today, Museums across the country are being asked to do more with less. A part of that task is for museums to do more outreach. This is one such collaborative effort.”
Peterson envisioned that the partnership would reap benefits that will have a positive impact on the area. Said Peterson, “Ultimately, this collaboration is about restoring peace, saving our youth and bringing order to our communities. With this as the goal,we are confident that this partnership will stem the violence,yield results and uplift our youth.”
Melody M. McDowell