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Urban violence summit held at Chicago State

(From left) Rep.Danny Davis Rep. RobKelly jostate discuss solutions strategies for violence Congressional Black Caucus summit urban violence Chicago State

(From left) Rep.Danny Davis and Rep. Robin Kelly join state discuss solutions and strategies for violence at the Congressional Black Caucus summit on urban violence at Chicago State University on Friday, July 26, 2013. | Chandler West~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: August 28, 2013 6:15AM

Rep. Bobby Rush began by asking, “Where are the wise men and wise women?”

Then he answered: “I believe a lot of them are gathered here today.”

More than 200 people assembled at Chicago State University Friday to discuss urban violence in Chicago and other areas across the country, and ways to prevent it.

The gathering, billed as the “Emergency Summit on Urban Violence,” was attended by Rush, and other Illinois Democratic Reps. Danny Davis and Robin Kelly; Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel; the Rev. Jesse Jackson and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

“With all due respect to Newtown and Arizona and the mass murders, we need to have voices for the urban areas and for urban violence,” Kelly said.

Officials said they know it’s a complex issue.

“There are so many things that impact the presence of violence in our society,” Davis said. “It’s poverty, it’s school closings, its a lack of good education opportunities, it’s a lack of jobs and opportunity to work, it’s the need for parenting, it’s need to rebuild the infrastructure and so all of these things become a part of the comprehensiveness of violence.”

The gathering not only allowed concerned residents hear the politicians speak, but also offered them an opportunity to share their own ideas. It’s what the organizers wanted.

“The people themselves are gathering around tables and in rooms and they are discussing not just the problems, but they are coming up with solutions and I fully expect that when we gather [later] ... that we’re going to have some creative and insightful solutions — a ways out of this violent dilemma and violent episode that we are witnessing throughout our nation and every urban center in America,” Rush said.

Rush said he and the other members of Congress at the summit intend to follow up on the ideas offered.

“The conversation that is created here will extend beyond here,” he said.

Emanuel, during the opening session, said gun violence is a national issue but he was glad the summit was held in Chicago.

“If we’re going to do what we need for our city, for our nation, we have to work together to make sure we get there,” said the mayor, adding that “common sense” gun laws are crucial.

Among people in the crowd were the parents of Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old Chicago girl murdered earlier this year, and the Rev. Michael Pfleger.

Pfleger brought with him a group of his church’s “Peacemakers,” including Charles Scott, 39, of Auburn Gresham.

Scott hoped officials really took in what was said to them by young community members.

“I think they really need to listen to a young person [who knows what’s going on] on the streets,” he said.

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