One year ago today, 15-year-old Hadiya
Pendleton was gunned down. When I met her family in the following weeks, I
promised to do everything I could to make sure other families don't have to go
through such a terrible tragedy.
Illinois leads the nation in per-capita
gang members, and Chicago is the only city in the United States to rank in the
top five in distribution for heroin, cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine
trafficked by Mexican cartels. In the city, the Chicago Police Department
estimates that gangs account for 80% of all murders. Throughout Illinois, gangs
are a serious problem and hold back the economic potential of our
This month, a more than six-month effort to
provide law enforcement, prosecutors and local communities with additional
funding was signed into law. Congress boosted resources to
fight "gangs of national significance" with a total price tag of $18.5 million.
This money will be used to combat gangs such as the Gangster Disciples, who are
believed to have killed Hadiya. Now that these funds are law, I will work with
the Department of Justice to follow through on their promise to bring Illinois
the needed resources to keep our communities safe. Click above to watch a video about my efforts and the importance
of funding to fight dangerous drug gangs in Illinois.