Chicago's Gun Violence Has a Role in the National Gun Debate

"I have been approached and talked with a lot of African-Americans who find that quite the oxymoronic oddity that President Obama would now address the issue of gun violence in America holistically after the Newtown tragedy," he said. "He spoke about that and the shooting incident in Tucson, Arizona, and the shooting in Aurora, and Trayvon Martin. We as an African-American community had really implored the president to address this matter a long time before Newtown, before Tucson."

But aside from introducing new legislation, Holt and others say community outreach, particularly to young minority males, is key.

"There are environmental, economic and educational impacts that should be put into place on a consistent basis and really administered from the community-based, faith-based and parental-based levels," Holt said.

Holt also believes peer-to-peer interaction is often effective. When young people see friends or community members they respect on a healthy path, they're sometimes more likely to pay attention to that person than to a parent.

Patricia Foxen, deputy director of research with the National Council of La Raza, the nation's largest Latino advocacy organization, agrees that the issue is holistic.

"It's a community issue," she said. "Schools are a key place [for positive outreach] because that's where kids are and you have a captive audience where you can really nurture healthy behaviors."

The reality is that there is very little real data on how to curb gun violence among minorities, but without seriously looking at cities like Chicago when having that larger gun debate, this will be difficult to change.

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