Friday, October 9, 2009

Why Losing the Olympic Host City Bid Was a Good Thing

I am sorry this doesn't fall into the category of "a blog for and about women" but, I needed to post this second one as well this week because it is something that has hit close to home and could really be a problem anywhere. During the 2008-2009 school year, 33 Chicago Public School students died. While I am sure this number was a disappointment to the Mayor of Chicago's office at the time, I don't recall any national news coverage that came of it. Now, looking back on the events over the past couple weeks in Chicago, I would say perhaps it was a good thing that Chicago lost the Olympic bid after all. Why have I made the connection between these two things?

It has been a month or so since Chicago found out it would not be hosting the 2016 Olympics and while some may be diappointed, many Chicagoens might agree, that perhaps, this was a good thing for Chicago. Since then, Mayor Richard Daley, has turned his attention to the problem of youth violence that has been building over the years in our city. This followed the well publicized death of a Darien Albert, a 16-year old honor student who was beaten to death on September 24,2009, an event that was caught on video and may have very well influenced the decision not to hold the Olympics in Chicago. Mayor Daley, after realizing that the Olympics would not be his ticket to re-election, has now made the fight against youth violence in Chicago his pet project for the past several weeks.

I would like to believe it was just because the death of a teen was serious enough, but, I have a feeling that if Chicago hadn't lost the Olympic bid, this story might not have gotten the attention it deserved, nor the visit from the the Attorney General Eric Holder and Education Secretary Arne Duncan that followed on October 7th to meet with Mayor Daley, local leaders, and the fellow high school students of Darien Albert three weeks later after he died. You see why I made this connection?

My question is, why didn't it happen sooner? The problem of youth violence is very troubling in Chicago and other communities as well. I hope that in the end something real does come of all of this or this teen's death might be in vein. Again, sorry this is more of an editorial than our usual post,but, I know you understand why it had to be said.

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