Youth of Color Dying Weekly in Chicago

Sean Yoes, AFRO (Washington, D.C.), May 9, 2009

Alex Arellano, a 15-year-old Chicago teen, was beaten, burned, shot in the head and his body was dumped in an alley last week, the latest of dozens of Chicago children and teens murdered in Chicago already this year.

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Arellano is one of 36 teens and children killed this year, a rate of more than one youth per week, a fact that has community leaders looking for answers.

But some claim the deaths have garnered little attention because the vast majority of the young people have been black and Hispanic.

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But, because violence is snuffing out the young lives, Pfleger [the Rev. Michael Pfleger] said, “We’re hiding it. We’re ignoring it. We’re denying the problems.”

Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis said scuffles among young people have become increasingly violent and in the last couple of years many of the conflicts have ended in gunfire.

“There’s simply too many gangs, too many guns and too many drugs on the streets,” Weis told CNN. “We’ve got a problem with some of our young people who are resorting to the use of weapons and violence to solve any type of conflicts they may have.”

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