Chicago had more murders last year than any other city in America, which is why Democratic members of the Congressional Black Caucus met in Chicago yesterday to convene a national emergency summit on urban violence. And they vowed to take fresh solutions back to Washington. Natalie Moore of member station WBEZ in Chicago attended the forum and has this story.

NATALIE MOORE, BYLINE: Congresswoman Robin Kelly said this wouldn't just be another summit.


REPRESENTATIVE ROBIN KELLY: Maybe just some of you are tired of having your leaders hold summits that are long on talk and short on action. Today's summit aims to be different.


MOORE: Kelly joined her colleagues at Chicago State University on the city's South Side. Kelly says Chicago's shootings are the tipping point that prompted the emergency summit. According to the police department, murders are down 24 percent from last year. Overall violent crime is down.

But there have been a number of high-profile homicides - many involving young people - that have alarmed leaders and garnered national attention. More than 200 people attended the daylong forum on urban violence. The proliferation of guns and the impact on youth were discussed - issues that go beyond Chicago. Oft-repeated problems and solutions were echoed from fiery community leaders.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: We need to stop throwing all of our money behind bad programs. Why do our children get involved in gangs? Number one, they have nothing to do.

MOORE: Education, parenting, mentoring and community reinvestment were repeated over and over. But no new or specific solutions were offered during the eight-plus hours of the forum. Many needed the time to vent. And anything elected officials come up face a contentious Congress that is cutting government programs.

Still, Congressional Black Caucus leaders say ending violence is a priority. They want crime in black communities to garner the same support and sympathy as the Newtown school shootings. Danny Davis represents the West Side of Chicago. He says curbing violence won't be a quick cure.


REPRESENTATIVE DANNY DAVIS: I don't think the police are going to solve this problem. It may be putting a focus on early childhood education that does not give you the results you are looking for next week. But they may give you some results in the next 10 to 12 years.

MOORE: Elected officials say Chicago may be the first stop in a national tour around urban violence, with New Orleans and Baltimore next on the list. Los Angeles Congresswoman Maxine Waters says leaders need to show love to young people.


REPRESENTATIVE MAXINE WATERS: It's about development of the plan that will come out of this. And then let's see how the Congressional Black Caucus, how the White House, how the police, the Justice Department, how the local mayors, how the community activists all can play into the plan that they develop.

MOORE: That plan has yet to be developed. For NPR news, I'm Natalie Moore in Chicago.

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