Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk (R) drew the ire of U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush after announcing his desire to jail thousands of African American gang members in May.
Kirk’s controversial measure included a request of $30 million from the Senate Appropriations Committee to arrest 18,000 members of the Chicago Gangsters Disciples, a gang founded in the Windy City by Larry Hoover in the 1960s.
Rush invited Kirk on a tour of Englewood, one of the Chi’s most impoverished neighborhoods. Rush wanted Kirk to get a first-hand look at the socioeconomic conditions plaguing its residents.
Despite viewing the area’s conditions as “pretty shocking” and depressing, Kirk’s view of the city’s gang problem didn’t change.
“I would like to crush the Gangster Disciples as an organization,” he said, according to The Chicago Sun Times. “I think the federal government should have the capability to do that.”
Rush is calling for more empathy and attention directed towards residents.
“We need money. We need jobs. We need jobs. We need jobs,” he said.
Rush slammed Kirk’s gang proposal in May, calling it an “upper-middle-class, elitist white boy solution to a problem he knows nothing about,” according statements given to Chicago Sun-Times.
Rush proposed Kirk’s plan should include strategies on how to employ and educate the young men residing in the poverty-stricken urban areas of Chicago.
“Kirk’s current plan does not include the option to create jobs, provide affordable and safe housing, quality health care and improve schools in urban areas, BUT certainly a plan to incarcerate 18,000 black men is elitist,” he wrote in an e-mailed statement to the Sun-Times. “Why is incarceration the sole option instead of rehabilitation which is proven to work and not locking young men up?”
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