CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel has teamed up with some Chicago DJs and radio personalities to kick off a citywide violence prevention initiative called “Put The Guns Down.”
CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports the mayor was on The Matt McGill Morning Show on WVON for a talk with one of the top urban talk radio voices. They actually started their conversation two weeks ago, and said with summer fast approaching, it was a good time to reach out and encourage Chicago residents to make good decisions.
Already in the last month, Chicago has seen a rash of shootings. Just since Thursday afternoon, at least 15 people have been shot in Chicago, the victims ranging in age from 16 to 56. Some victims told police they were just sitting on their porch or inside their homes when they got shot. It appears most of the shootings were drive-bys.
McGill said Chicago needs to break its cycle of violence.
Part of the latest anti-violence initiative is for popular radio hosts like McGill to say “put the guns down” every time they open and close their radio programs, simulcast a 25-minute discussion once a week with mothers of children killed by gun violence, and record a public service announcement and place ads on billboards.
“It’s our voices talking to our community and saying ‘Put the guns down.’ The only way to stop violence is going to be to put the guns down. Everybody is expecting a violent summer. Let’s see what we can do to prevent that from happening,” McGill said. “The mayor’s office just wants to encourage us, more than anything, to keep the conversation going. We had a meeting with the mayor, and he talked about what he felt was important, and then asked us for suggestions.”
Emanuel welcomed the radio hosts’ voices.
“We do policing. We do prevention. We do penalties. We also need parenting. We’re going to add a fifth ‘P’ today: pop culture. We’re going to have a single voice from pop culture,” he said.
McGill, who often addresses gun violence on his talk show, said he believes it’s not just about reaching out to the youth, but also for parents to get involved.
In addition to WVON, hosts at several other radio stations are taking part in the campaign, including WGCI, V103, KISS FM, Power 92.3, Univision Radio, and El Patron.
Starting Friday, each station has made a commitment to say “Put the guns down” at the beginning and end of their programs. Once a week, during peak hours, stations will participate in a 15-minute simulcast to talk about “the importance of community responsibility and accountability,” according to the mayor’s office.