CBC Message To America: UP Initiative Looks To Arm Urban Communities With Jobs Instead Of Guns

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Congresswoman Robin Kelly (D-IL) delivers this week’s Congressional Black Caucus Message to America focusing on how increasing economic opportunities in urban communities can reduce gun violence in America.

Kelly’s new collaborative initiative, UP – otherwise known as the Urban Progress Initiative – was established to reduce gun violence by increasing opportunities and building a strong coalition at the local, state, and federal levels “to increase access to employment, quality education and training, and improve community relations.”

One of UP’s primary goals is to create “safe, stable and self-sustaining communities.” Out of this desire to positively impact disadvantaged communities, UP implements a strategy that will promote “genuine urban progress” for all of our neighborhoods.

Rep. Kelly said, “We can’t just focus on downtown — the heart of our cities. We must focus on downtown and all the surrounding neighborhoods that make up the fabric of our cities.”

In order to accomplish this, we must “invest in our infrastructure, improving our schools and colleges, creating job opportunities, empowering people and collaborating with churches and businesses and elected officials.” 

Government also plays a vital role in fostering economic progress in our cities by “increasing access to good-paying jobs, quality education and training with the goal of creating safe, stable, self-sustaining communities.”

There are three key areas in need of our attention so we can “create meaningful change.” Rep Kelly detailed these areas during her address:

  • Sustainable community economic development
  • Advancing policies and legislation to expand summer and after school jobs, job training programs and commercial and residential redevelopment efforts.
  • Promoting community policing and more representative police forces while working to create more positive points of interaction between law enforcement and the community.
  • Common sense gun violence prevention.

Kelly concluded her address to America: “The UP Initiative is a comprehensive approach to community redevelopment that aims to give people a leg up and then empower them with the tools and support they need to build up their communities.”

For more information about the Congressional Black Caucus, visit cbc-butterfield.house.gov.


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