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2    WHEREAS, In the State of Illinois, two thirds of gun
3violence is related to suicide, and one third is related to
4homicide, claiming approximately 12,000 lives a year; and
5    WHEREAS, Violence has plagued communities, predominantly
6poor and distressed communities in urban settings, which have
7always treated violence as a criminal justice issue, instead of
8a public health issue; and
9    WHEREAS, On February 21, 2018, Pastor Anthony Williams was
10informed that his son, Nehemiah William, had been shot to
11death; and
12    WHEREAS, Due to this disheartening event, Pastor Anthony
13Williams reached out to state Rep. Elizabeth "Lisa" Hernandez,
14urging that the issue of violence be treated as a disease; and
15    WHEREAS, In 2018, elected officials from all levels of
16government started a coalition to address violence as a
17disease, with the assistance of faith-based organizations,
18advocates, and community members and held a statewide listening
19tour from August 2018 to April 2019; and
20    WHEREAS, The listening tour consisted of stops on the South



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1Side and West Side of Chicago, in Maywood, Springfield, and
2East St. Louis, with a future scheduled visit in Danville; and
3    WHEREAS, During the statewide listening sessions,
4community members actively discussed neighborhood safety,
5defining violence and how and why violence occurs in their
6communities; and
7    WHEREAS, The listening sessions provided different
8solutions to address violence, however, all sessions confirmed
9a disconnect from the priorities of government and the needs of
10these communities; and
11    WHEREAS, The State of Illinois should create a process to
12identify high violence communities, also known as R3 areas, and
13prioritize state dollars to go to these communities to fund
14programs as well as community and economic development projects
15that would address the underlying causes of crime and violence;
17    WHEREAS, Due to a variety of reasons, including in
18particular the State's budget impasse, funds were unavailable
19to establish such comprehensive policy; and
20    WHEREAS, Policies like R3 (Restore, Reinvest, and Renew)
21are needed in order to provide communities that have



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1historically suffered from divestment, poverty, and
2incarceration with smart solutions that can solve the plague of
3violence; and
4    WHEREAS, It is clear that violence is a public health
5problem that needs to treated as such, a disease; and
6    WHEREAS, Research has shown that when violence is treated
7in such a way, then its effects can be slowed or even halted;
8therefore, be it
11we stand together with the victims of violence and their loved
12ones who are being plagued by this disease in communities
13across Illinois, and that we urge that violence be labeled and
14treated as a public health crisis in order to effectively
15address it; and be it further
16    RESOLVED, That a suitable copy of this resolution be
17delivered to Pastor Anthony W. Williams of the First
18Congregational Church of Berwyn.