collins 072220CHICAGO – In the wake of a mass shooting at a Gresham funeral that wounded at least 15 people, State Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) expressed her support of the victims, asked those with knowledge of the crime to come forward and called for city and state government to act to address the root causes of violence.

“We face two pandemics in Chicago. Both spread and perpetuate themselves. And we already know how to end both,” Collins said. “We know the solution to the coronavirus is to bring our resources to bear to support public health and follow the science. We know that to end the pandemic of violence we need to stem the flow of guns, drugs and gangs, and address the poverty, disenfranchisement and criminalization of communities of color in Chicago.”

Collins also urged the city’s leaders and the community to come together to end the shootings. Gresham has experienced a spike of violence this year, and reports indicate last night’s shooting was a retaliation in an ongoing, deadly feud.

“Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel once wrote that ‘Few are guilty, but all are responsible,’” Collins said. “Those with knowledge of these crimes must come forward and work with police. And it must be said that police need to foster a relationship of trust that starts with reform and accountability. This has to be a two-way street.”

Collins cited a number of recent actions the General Assembly has taken in an attempt to fix the root causes of violent crime in Chicago. The state legislature created the Commission on the Elimination of Poverty to explore ways of ending the cycle of poverty in Illinois. Collins was among those who supported a minimum wage increase to $15, which will proceed in stages over the coming years, as well as the legalization of cannabis for adult use with the most robust social equity provisions in the country’s history. In addition, Collins advocated for increased funding for violence prevention, youth employment and Teen Reach programming in the FY 21 Budget. Collins is in the midst of acting to address the vast disparity in banking and home lending between white and Black and brown communities.

“Gresham is an epicenter of these two pandemics, and for the same reasons. We can’t give up on our efforts to end them simply because the solutions are costly or inconvenient to those in power,” Collins said. “A person who wears a mask protects another from COVID-19. A child with a bright future and a supportive society does not pick up a gun. We know how we need to act, and we need to act now.”