The Better Government Association and WBEZ have been following police shootings in Cook County suburbs and reporting this in a TakingCover
series of articles. Their focus is on "How Cops Escape Discipline For Shootings in Suburban Illinois
One data resource is an interactive map that shows locations of shootings and provides details. The screen shot at the left was created by zooming into one part of the map then clicking on one of the yellow dots. In this case, I'm looking at the South Suburban area around Harvey, IL.
While I'm interested in this topic, I'm more interested in helping people in communities with high poverty, poorly performing schools, too few jobs, and too much violence and police shootings, have a system of youth and family support services that help shrink the negatives by creating more paths to high school graduation, jobs and careers.
More specifically, I've been trying to help well organized, mentor-rich, non-school tutor, mentor and learning programs grow in high poverty areas. Site based programs could be operating in faith based buildings, colleges, business sites and/or free standing locations. They could be hosted at public or private schools. I led one of these from 1975 to 2011, serving youth in the Cabrini-Green area of Chicago.
For this to happen
, someone needs to take the lead, then begin mobilizing others, who will help start and sustain needed programs. Using maps in stories that are presented via social media, YouTube, face-to-face presentations, etc. is one strategy to help do this. I've been piloting this for 24 years and keep trying to motivate others to adopt the same tactics.
I created the Tutor/Mentor Connection
in 1993 to help non-school, tutor, mentor and learning programs grow in the Chicago region and started a survey in 1994 to locate existing non-school tutor/mentor programs in the Chicago region. I've been plotting this information on maps and sharing it via an Interactive Program Locator, a web list, and the map shown at this link
Since 1994 I've been using the database and maps to tell stories and generate public interest and involvement aimed at drawing needed resources to existing programs, or helping new programs form where more are needed.
At the left is a map view created by zooming into my map platform, to show the same area as the BetterGov.org map. In this case, I don't find any organized volunteer-based tutor or mentor programs in the area. That means people in this area are going to need to step forward and create programs, hopefully borrowing from the ideas on my web sites. Here's a section focused on "how to start a program
Lack of programs in the South Suburbs is not new information to me. In 2007 I hosted a Tutor/Mentor Conference in this area and this article show our goal of mobilizing people to help programs grow.
At the right is a map-story created in the 1990s before I had access to the Internet for sharing these stories. Click on the image to enlarge. Then you can see a Chicago SunTimes
story of a shooting in Chicago and a map that shows where the shooting took place. You can also see a table showing existing tutor/mentor programs in the area, with additional tables showing some businesses in the same area. Finally there's a narrative that ends up calling on assets, political leaders, media and others to help support existing programs in the map area, or help new programs form.I've been repeating this type of map-story for many years, but my voice is too small, and I'm an outsider in these neighborhoods.
If youth, volunteers, parents and community leaders learn to create these stories, and share them weekly, they can begin to draw together a coalition of people who will take the lead on building and sustaining needed programs.
In 2008 the T/MC began building an interactive Tutor/Mentor Program Locator
, with layers of information that could be used to create a story showing why help was needed, what tutor/mentor programs were in the area, if any, and what banks, hospitals, colleges, faith groups, etc were also in the area and should be taking a role to help build and sustain great programs.
points to a presentation showing "how to use" the program locator to create map stories.
Since mid 2011 the T/MC has been operated by the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC and I've not had the resources to continue updating the Program Locator platform. Thus, it's out of date. However, it's a model for what could be created in Chicago or other cities, and how it could be used to create map stories that draw attention and resources to neighborhoods where bad things happen too often.
Furthermore, I've demonstrated on this blog, and many others on this site, that you can use data platforms created by others, such as the BGA and WBEZ to create map views which you then edit using Power Point or other tools to add additional information that shows why people should be helping tutor/mentor programs grow in this map-area.
While there are many examples of map-stories on this blog, here's a Nov. 2017 article that shows how one person is creating map stories and sharing them regularly on Twitter.
Others can, and should, do the same. If I begin to see more map-stories in Tweets and Facebook posts that focus on helping build needed youth and family support programs in different parts of Chicago, the US or the world, I'll know that some people have read this story, or forwarded it to others.
Thank you to Joel Inwood of the ChiHackNight group for bringing the BetterGov.org map to my attention.