Peoria – the proverbial tale of two cities. One tale is about a Peoria that produces the youngest member of Congress, who thrives and is on the world stage by the age of 26; and the other tale is about a Peoria, that produces a 13 year old bank robber – a throw away child (if the State’s Attorney is to be believed).
Deonte Moore is just the most recent example of the plague of gang/youth violence that we face daily. Gangs do not exist in a vacuum. They are born out of an environment of poverty, lack of jobs, training, educational opportunities, and an absence of inclusion and spiritual engagement. We should be deeply disturbed that our Community has produced (and subsequently failed) Deonte Moore.
On February 13, 2009, a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced H.R.1064 and S. 435, identical House and Senate bills to fund prevention and intervention programs that are comprehensive, community-centered and evidence-based efforts to combat gangs and youth violence. The Bill is called the Youth PROMISE Bill.
PROMISE stands for Prison Reduction through Opportunities, Mentoring, Intervention, Support, and Education and is sponsored by Representatives Robert C. "Bobby" Scott (D-VA) and Michael Castle (R-DE) as well as Senators Robert Casey (D-PA) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME). In response to gang bills that emphasized suppression and incarceration over prevention and intervention, Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va) introduced legislation that champions evidenced-based practices and provides an alternative approach for lawmakers looking for effective responses to youth crime and delinquency.
The Youth PROMISE Act builds upon evidence-based methods proven to reduce youth violence and delinquency at the community level. Under the Youth PROMISE Act, communities facing the greatest youth gang and crime challenges will come together – via a local council that includes law enforcement, community-based organizations, schools, faith organizations, health, social service, and mental health providers – to develop and implement a comprehensive plan for evidence-based prevention and intervention strategies targeted at young people and their families to make our communities safer, reduce victimization, and help at-risk young people to lead law-abiding and healthy lives, free from gang and/or other criminal involvement.
The Peoria Community is rich with resources, inclusive of a superstar Congressman named Aaron Schock. What better person to get behind this Bill and push for it’s passing than Aaron Schock. After all, the travesty that surrounds Deonte Moore is playing out right here in his home town. Congressman Aaron Schock should care about the passing of this Bill.
I encourage all readers of this blog to write Congressman Schock, tell him it is okay to support this important act. As a matter of fact we need to contact all Senators and Representatives now and ask for their support of S. 435 and H.R. 1064. Go here to sign a letter (scroll to bottom of page).
Click below to view a Section-by-Section Summary of the bill, including a list of current co-sponsors. Section-by-Section Summary