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‘Dangerous and Deadly Year for Children’ in Chicago A Tragic Reminder of Gun Violence’s Toll on Children

November 24, 2020

According to WGN 9, 2020 has been one of the most “dangerous and deadly” years for Chicago’s children and teenagers with 291 kids shot and 41 killed through the end of September, and the highest numbers in 6 years for Chicago’s youngest children, with a total of 38 children under 12 shot and six killed. The staggering numbers are a tragic reminder that gun violence continues to be the leading cause of death for children and teens in Illinois and in the nation as a whole. 

An average of 183 children and teens die by guns every year in Illinois, and the state’s gun violence disproportionately affects Black children and teens, who are 13 times as likely as their white peers to die by guns. In the United States, 58% of all gun deaths among children and teens are homicides. Children and teens in the U.S. are impacted by gun violence in all its forms. Exposure to gun violence has an impact on the psychological and mental well-being of children and teens and affects their school performance, among other factors. 

To prevent gun violence in Chicago, local leaders must continue to support and invest in violence intervention programs that are tailored to communities to stop the cycle of violence and save lives. In Chicago, volunteers with Moms Demand Action are advocating alongside local partners for increased funding for community-based intervention programs, including:

  • Action Now Institute, an organization working for racial, social and economic justice by building leadership capacity of community members, developing cutting-edge policy analysis, and driving data-focused and results-oriented campaigns that promote our community leaders to the decision making tables for their communities.
  • Institute for Nonviolence Chicago, an organization seeking to interrupt cycles of violence and transform communities.   
  • IGrow Chicago, an Englewood organization working to heal individual and community trauma resulting from violence. 
  • Live Free Chicago, a faith-based organization working to transform Chicago communities from gun violence.
  • Strides For Peace, an organization that empowers, amplifies, and collaborates with community organizations working to end gun violence.

In addition to increasing dedicated state funding for gun violence prevention and services for survivors of gun violence, state agencies should utilize federal Victim of Crime Act (VOCA) victim assistance funding to support local organizations serving survivors of gun violence and their communities.

More information about gun violence in Illinois is available here, and more information about gun violence in cities is available here. To learn more about how to reduce city gun violence, visit

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