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A group of Republicans from Chicago’s South Side is speaking out against the city’s increase in crime, as well as the policies and laws that have led to hundreds of shooting deaths and placed a strain on hardworking Americans who trying to defend themselves, their families, and their businesses.
In an interview on Friday with Fox News Digital, Devin Jones, chairman of Southside Republicans and the 18th Ward Republican Committeeman, and Latasha Fields, the 21st Ward Republican Committeewoman, described the problems individuals in their communities face as a result of the uptick in violence and one-sided leadership in Chicago.
Speaking about the work Southside Republicans do, Jones said the group utilizes “biblical principles” to advance the overall goal of the Republican Party while ensuring that the mission is “relevant to the community.”
Fields said the “biggest thing” the group works on is educating individuals in South Side communities about the importance of voting so “they can vote their values.”
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“We’re big on education,” Fields said. “That’s definitely what Southside GOP is built on.… When we look at the disadvantage of the things that are happening disproportionately, effecting our community, we believe that political education is very important so that voters, constituents, potential voters, can become informed of these things.”
“Unfortunately, we’ve all sat back and seen how our elected officials have not taken the torch, are no longer taking the torch, to bring those policy changes to the people.… We want people to understand how these policies effect their families, their children,” she added.
Shootings in Chicago raged over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, killing at least 10 and leaving 62 injured, while 2021 marked the city’s deadliest year in a quarter-century.
When asked about the rampant gun violence in Chicago, a city which witnessed nearly 800 homicides in 2021, Jones said people in Chicago communities blame “bad policy” and the lack of education in schools across the city.
“We have a horrible public education system here in the city of Chicago that disproportionately underserves, specifically, Black people who live on the South Side,” he said. “We have less than a quarter of Black kids in this city are graduating from high school and able to read and write proficiently which means that they’re not able to compete on the global scale, they’re not able to get higher paying jobs .”
“There are no trades in a lot of our schools,” he added. “What does that leave a young adult to do? They’re not prepared to go to college. They’re not prepared to enter the workforce. Coupled with the fact that it just cost so much to live here, so if you have two parents, they’re off to work [and kids are left] with no supervision. … A lot of the violence is youth-oriented, so there’s no opportunity to do anything else except what you’re seeing because that’s the climate these bad policies have created.”
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Echoing Jones’ sentiment, Fields said she believes the spike in crime across the city is in part due to the policies implemented from leadership in Chicago, but insisted that family values also need to return. “It is part of the family, there is a responsibility because, again, me and Devin we’re Black, we live here. I have two boys, 15 and 12, so no, I don’t fully blame it on the police, I don’t fully blame it on the government,” she said. “There’s a huge responsibility factor… the policies do play effect in terms of how they have eroded our moral fabric, have eroded our traditional family structure.”
Placing emphasis on rebuilding the “family structure” in their communities, Fields said, “We want to take back our power and empower parents to take back those responsibilities over their children.”
Jones said he believes several elected leaders – including Democrat Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, President Joe Biden, and Vice President Kamala Harris – have overlooked the gun violence in Chicago because it “doesn’t fit their narrative.”
“I think that it doesn’t fit their narrative,” Jones said. “Their narrative is one of limiting Second Amendment rights.… Their goal is to look at the Second Amendment as though it’s these military style weapons … but really, it’s pistols that are being used on the South Side of Chicago. So, it doesn’t t fit that big, scary gun thing when you see that most people, most homicides, are committed using revolvers, using Glocks.”
If elected leaders like Biden and Harris were to speak out against the violence taking place in Chicago, Jones said it would “be a rebuke of themselves” and their “bad policies,” citing a “lack of prosecution” for criminals from Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx.
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“It would be a rebuke of their bad policies,” he said. “The lack of prosecution that goes on from Kamala’s friend Kim Foxx in the state’s attorney office – those are the things that are a part of the reason why this crime runs rampant and they cannot speak on it without rebuking themselves.”
“They’re part of it,” Fields interjected. “There are no consequences for the actions that we’re seeing. This catch and release is unacceptable. It’s just woefully unacceptable. My husband is a barber on the South Side of Chicago. He owns a shop, so he’s hearing a lot of these conversations from these young men that there’s no consequences. It’s really just that simple. … They’re getting away with too much.”
Fields said that strict gun control legislation implemented across the city in an attempt to curb the shooting violence leaves those who “uphold the Second Amendment” and try to protect their families “unprotected” against the criminals who are not concerned with the law.
“When they create these laws, it hurts us and it strips away our constitutional right,” Fields said. “We should have a right, and we do, to protect our homes and our families and our businesses. My husband is in an area where he needs to make sure that his Second Amendment right is protected.”
Jones said he believes if there was more access to the Second Amendment in the South Side, then residents of the South Side would be “able to protect our own communities.”
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Fields said that Southside Republicans will continue it’s work to “reach the people, neighbor by neighbor, and family by family” to “recondition their minds, revitalize the way they perceive government, so that we can stop electing these kinds of people. … We have to be held accountable to who we elect.”
Last month, President Biden signed into law the most sweeping gun control bill in nearly 30 years after two mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, dozens left dead within a week of each other, prompting Congress to take action.
Fox News’ Lisa Bennatan and Jon Michael Raasch contributed to this article.