CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–April 22, 2016. Congresswoman Robin Kelly today announced “The UP Initiative,” a new collaborative effort between Members of Congress and community partners to reduce gun violence and increase economic opportunity.
The UP Initiative — short for “Urban Progress” — builds on the recommendation of the 2014 Kelly Report on Gun Violence in America, and brings together a broad, diverse coalition from Congress and civic leaders at every level of government to develop a comprehensive strategy of urban reinvestment in Chicago and across the country.
The Initiative seeks to increase access to employment, quality education and training, and improved community-police relations, with the goal of creating safe, stable, self-sustaining communities.
“Today’s union of groups is a critical first step in proactively engaging families, our business sector, law enforcement, and this Congress,” Rep. Kelly said. “Meaningful change can only occur through cooperative effort. It’s going to take all of us — our churches, public officials, community activists, police and academic institutions—to lift our communities UP from poverty and violence. Collectively, and through committed coordination, we can create a solid framework for building safe and thriving communities.”
Today’s launch includes a Congressional tour of three community-based organizations that have successfully implemented progressive programs and strategies to reduce violence in their areas: South Side YMCA, Kids off the Block, and Inner City Muslim Action Network (IMAN).
Kelly was joined at the announcement and tour by several of her Congressional colleagues including Congressman Bobby Rush, Congresswomen Tammy Duckworth, Cheri Bustos, Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Yvette Clarke (D-NY) and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ).
Kelly was also joined by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who offered his support for the UP Initiative and called on Congress to pass bipartisan criminal justice reform legislation. He said Congress should seize the opportunity to invest billions of dollars in projected savings from this type of legislation into struggling urban communities.
“As a nation we stand at a crossroads where the very next move we make determines the future of our children and the futures of their children,” said Mayor Emanuel. “That’s why I’m calling on Congress to pass a bipartisan sentencing reform bill, and invest in the communities where resources are needed the most. I am working with Congresswoman Kelly to push for passage of this legislation and take action to redefine our collective future.”
The diverse coalition represented at the press conference includes families who demand change, Members Congress who are ready to act on gun legislation today, clergy, law enforcement and community leaders.