News

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Antonio’s Response Community Launch

August 20th 2015 marked the 1 year anniversary of the death of Antonio Smith Jr., a 9 year old killed by alleged gang members in the Grand Crossing neighborhood of Chicago.  During a vigil and ceremony, we launched the our organization, “Antonio’s Response” which garnered the support of Antonio’s family, the local community, and the local news.

We would like to thank everyone who came out to show support during the launch, and will appreciate continuing support as we continue to reclaim our communities!

For more information about the launch you can read the article at ABC7.  For more information about Antonio’s Response, feel free to visit the “About Us” and “Get Involved” sections of our website!!

Killing of 9-year-old sparks Anti-Violence Initiative

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Welcome to Antonio’s Response

Thank you for visiting Antonio’s Response!  We are a community organization with an aim to be a response to youth violence, providing a model that can be replicated using the following approaches:

  • Employing innovation to foster community organizing.
  • Creating a menu of strategic options to involve the masses and encourage many to do just a little.
  • Creating and managing a community event’s calendar.
  • Connecting first and if necessary, creating collaborative youth empowerment programs.
  • Work with local police and academic institutions to identify and evaluate the impact of our collective work.

Our aim is to inspire unity in our community, providing a blanket of support and safety for our youth.  We also want to research and directly address the conditions that create youth violence.  If we can inspire the masses to work together by contributing just a little, we are confident that we can be an example of change that will impact the nation.  We appreciate your visits, comments, support, and look forward to hearing from you all soon!  Don’t forget to check out our “Get Involved” section to learn about ways you can help.

In the comments section, let’s start by participating in a “roll call.”  Let us know who you are, where you are from, and what bought you to Antonio’s Response

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Amari Brown

Amari Brown age 7 was killed on Chicago’s West Side while celebrating the July 4th holiday at his father’s home.  He was struck when someone opened fire, with the intended target being Brown’s father.  Rest in Peace.

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Antonio Smith Jr.

Antonio Maurice Smith Jr., lovingly called “Fat Baby” and “Hamburger” loved to eat, dance to Michael Jackson songs and make people laugh.  The fourth grader was on the honor roll at Hinton Elementary in Chicago, and was very smart.

On August 20th, 2014 Antonio’s life was tragically taken after he was shot in the chest, hands and arms in the Grand Crossing neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois.  After being angry he was denied cake according to his family he ran out of the house.  Hours later, he was gunned down by four gang members who thought he was alerting a rival gang of his presence.   Antonio had no gang affiliation, although he lived in an area that was a crossing point of two rival gang factions.

Since January 2014 to date, there have been 3,816 shooting victims in Chicago neighborhoods.  Street violence in Chicago has been the subject of media attention and debates regarding Black on Black Violence.  The problem of street violence has also drawn the attention of film producer Spike Lee, who is developing a film about black-on-black murder in the South Side of Chicago.

Antonio’s Response aims to be a champion in combating street violence and conditions that foster it.  These are our neighborhoods and our lives.  We have children who represent Antonio; we all are Antonio.  Unless we develop strategies that address all issues, the violence and negative attention will never again.  We want to be create a movement that challenges street violence across the nation at all levels, when the line continues to be crossed.

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“Chicago Cops and Kids Create League of Their Own”

From YouTube:  “In the violence-ridden neighborhood of Englewood, Chicago, police officers are trading their uniforms for ball caps and jerseys to teach boys and girls about baseball. They are also trying to change the community’s perceptions about cops. (Aug. 5)”

Chicago Crime Scene
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Chicago Tribune: University of Chicago offers $1 million for best idea to stem youth violence

More than suicide or heart disease, HIV or unintentional injuries, homicide has claimed the lives of more young African-American males than anything else.  In fact, it has outpaced the nine other leading causes of death combined, according to recent federal data. And Chicago has a higher percentage of young homicide victims than the national average.

In an effort to change that narrative, the University of Chicago Crime Lab has teamed up with the MacArthur Foundation and Get In Chicago to offer up to $1 million for the best idea or ideas to combat youth violence.

“This is not an intractable problem, but we have not made enough progress,” said Roseanna Ander, executive director of the University of Chicago Crime Lab and Urban Education Lab.

Organizers of the design competition said they are looking for imaginative solutions to the complex issue. The goal is to improve life outcomes of the young people who walk the city’s streets, attend its schools and play in its parks.
The deadline to submit plans is fast approaching. All letters of interest have to be in by Monday, after which a limited number of applicants will be asked to file full proposals. The awards will be announced in late May.

To read more from the Chicago Tribune, Click Here.

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Chicago Tribune: Emanuel: Anti-violence funds should be distributed faster by Get IN Chicago

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Monday said he wants money collected by a faltering Chicago anti-violence initiative to get passed along to the organizations it was meant to help, but he did not say what he will do to make that happen.

The mayor’s comments came after the Chicago Tribune published an investigation that found just $3.7 million in grants was distributed by the Get IN Chicago organization to youth anti-violence programs as of June 1, though the private foundation has collected $17.6 million from business leaders since 2013 plus $17 million more in written pledges.
“It’s other people’s money (Get IN has raised), they want to see activities just like what we’re doing here,” Emanuel said after groundbreaking for a tennis center in the Washington Park neighborhood.

The mayor did not respond, however, when asked what he would do to compel Get IN to distribute its funds.

For Emanuel, who touted Get IN Chicago at its June 2013 launch as an effort to put “unprecedented resources” into building “a bridge of opportunity into a better future with better values” for Chicago’s youth, the relatively small investment that has been disbursed represents another example of a program he has heralded as a milestone falling short of expectations so far.

The Tribune has reported that the mayor’s Chicago Infrastructure Trust, designed to leverage private investment in public works projects, has done little in the three years since he brought in former President Bill Clinton to announce it. And the Tribune reported in August 2013 that Emanuel’s effort to fight the city’s food deserts also had fallen short of its goals.

Gun violence awareness: Hadiya Pendleton ‘would’ve been 18,’ her mom notes
Gun violence awareness: Hadiya Pendleton ‘would’ve been 18,’ her mom notes
Unlike those other programs, Get IN Chicago is run privately, so it’s easier for the mayor to criticize the organization’s performance without appearing to have dropped the ball himself. On Monday, Emanuel said he told the group’s leadership a year ago to “get moving” on awarding the donated funds. Asked for details or evidence that such a conversation took place, the mayor’s office did not respond.

In the Tribune story published in Sunday’s editions, the business leaders who co-chair the Get IN foundation — Allstate CEO Thomas Wilson and Loop Capital CEO James Reynolds Jr. — expressed confidence in the foundation’s path and its leadership.

“It’s really about getting the existing system to work in a new and different way because what we know we have doesn’t work,” Wilson told the Tribune in Sunday’s story. “We are trying to help bring a new set of skills and capabilities to this issue. Any time you try to do something that’s new, it’s hard.”

Reynolds also has told the Tribune that the organization wants to spend its money wisely and the dollars disbursed on youth programs will accelerate in the next three years. Not a penny will be left in the bank after five years, he said. “When this money’s gone, hopefully we’ll go out for more, and do it again, and grow it,” Reynolds said.

Also Monday, Emanuel continued to try to pressure Springfield to give the beleaguered Chicago Public Schools financial help with a $634 million teacher pension payment due at the end of the month. Emanuel did not directly answer when asked whether the school district can make the payment, though he did say to do so would mean cuts in the classrooms.

To read more from the Chicago Tribune, Click Here.

Englewood Police Youth Baseball Leauge
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Chicago Sun Times: Youth baseball league combats violence with Officer Friendly coaches

When Kenyatta Jones heard the premise behind the Englewood Police Youth Baseball League, she quickly signed up her 9-year-old son, DaQuan Williams.

“I think this is such a good thing for young black boys, and they’ve even got the girls playing,” Jones said Wednesday as she rooted for her son’s Tigers at Hamilton Park in Englewood.

“With as much violence going on in the city, it’s a real good thing to have police actually involved with the community,” Jones said.

Wednesday was opening day for the unique baseball league that launched in May in the South Side Englewood neighborhood — where the game is about more than baseball.

In this league, about 100 boys and girls, ages 9 to 12, are looking to stay safe this summer from the violence that plagues their community.

Looking to help them are dozens of current and retired Chicago Police officers — their team coaches.

“If the youth don’t trust the organization that is in charge of our safety and security on the streets, they’ll fall to the gangs and street violence,” said Marco Johnson, president of the Chicago Police Athletic League, one of the groups involved.

To read more from the Chicago Sun Times, Click Here

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Chicago Tribune: Family Mourns Slain 9-Year-Old Boy

Aug. 30th, 2014

Three weeks ago, Antonio Maurice Smith, Jr., was just another kid enjoying summer with his family at the annual Bud Billiken Parade.

Described as energetic and smart, the 9-year-old Antonio loved to smile, entertain and dance to Michael Jackson songs.

Funeral for Antonio Smith
Nine-year-old shooting victim Antonio Smith is laid to rest. (Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune)
But on Saturday, Antonio lay still in a small white casket, surrounded by bouquets of white, yellow and orange flowers, at a church where he was baptized and sang in choir. His framed Washington Park Pee Wee football No. 84 jersey stood to the left.

“We should not be here,” said the Rev. John Hannah during the funeral at the the Evening Star Missionary Baptist Church, 2050 W. 59th St. in West Englewood. “How many more people have to be sacrificed before we stand up and say enough is enough?”

 

To read more from the Chicago Tribune, Click Here

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