Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin (1st District) will host a violence prevention summit this weekend with a focus on "endangered populations."
The "endangered population summit" will be held Saturday at the By the Hand Club, 415 N. Laramie Ave., in Chicago's Austin community. The event will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Illinois Reps. Bobby Rush (D-IL,1), Robin Kelly (D-IL,2) and Danny Davis (D-IL,7) and the Rev. Jesse Jackson of the Rainbow Push Coalition are among the summit's scheduled panelists. The chief operating officer at the Cook County Health and Hospitals System and the village of Maywood's police chief are also expected to speak at the event.
According to an announcement, panelists will "discuss the immediate need for interventions to combat black-on-black violence and police-involved shootings." Speakers also plan to address ways to improve the well-being of communities in the areas of public health, economics and education.
The summit comes amid a spike in violence in Chicago -- which has already recorded over 300 homicides this year -- and on the heels of the police shooting deaths this week of Alton Sterling and Philandro Castile in Louisiana and Minnesota.
In a Facebook posting about the upcoming summit, Boykin, who represents Chicago's West Side and near west suburbs, discussed the recent police shootings. His statement reads in part:
Murder is murder. When murder is committed under color of law, and when officers of the law place themselves in the role of judge, jury and executioner with impunity, the time has come for America to wake up.
Police officers who commit murder must be terminated as a matter of course. They must not be placed on desk duty, their salaries, pensions and reputations protected by virtue of due process. Because due process is exactly what their victims are denied.
Alton Sterling was not afforded due process of law when the officer who had already physically restrained him shot him to death at point blank range. Philando Castile was not afforded due process of law when the officer who had stopped him determined to take justice in his own hands and executed him in front of his girlfriend and a child. Laquan McDonald was not afforded due process of law when a Chicago Police Officer aimed his weapon at him as he was walking away from him and shot him 16 times.
These officers have stripped African American citizens of their dignity, their rights and finally, in a split second, their lives. To take a life without justification is the ultimate deprivation of due process- and this behavior shocks the very core of our constitutional democracy.
These murders continue, without accountability and, in many cases, without even charges. So again, we ask- how many more must die before there is accountability?
The dual challenge that black men must confront in America is a daunting one. We face the prospect of being murdered at the hands of another black man, while also risking death at the hands of police officers acting under the color of law.
On this Saturday, we will discuss this dual challenge and develop a plan of action.