High rate of violence against Black women in Chicago prompts call for City Council task force

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CHICAGO (CBS) -- A Chicago alderwoman announced a plan to develop a City Council task force focused on the abnormal rate of violence against Black women in Chicago - after CBS 2 Investigators exposed the issue in a series spanning months.

The data show Black women suffer disproportionately from crime here. Dorothy Tucker and the CBS 2 Investigators team have been exposing the depths of this issue in the city for months now.

Last year, Tucker shared stories from the women behind the startling statistics exposed by the CBS Investigators.

"It's not fair. To have to navigate through life knowing that you'll potentially become a victim of a crime primarily because of your race and your gender combined… it's not fair," Tonia Thomas, a 27-year-old resident of Chicago's West Side, said in June.

Black women account for 25 percent to 30 percent of Chicago's crime victims - but make up just 16 percent of the city's population, according to 2022 crime data.

"A third of assaults, a third of battery and theft and carjackings," said Ald. Stephanie Coleman (16th).

The data left a lasting impression on Coleman, chair of the Chicago Aldermanic Black Caucus.

"We are here for a call to action," she said.

Coleman's call to action is the expansion of a Chicago City Council Gender-Based Violence Task Force - with a dedication to preventing violence against Black women in Chicago.

"Who better to advocate for Black women other than Black women?" Coleman said.

Coleman was joined and supported Tuesday by the Women Pastors United, the Chicago Urban League, the NAACP, and other organizations in announcing her plan Tuesday. The Chicago Urban League hosted the announcement event at 4510 S. Michigan Ave.

"I want to thank Dorothy Tucker from CBS," Coleman said at the event as everyone applauded. "Can we celebrate her and honor her?"

Coleman is calling for what she terms a "leveling up" of the existing Gender-Based Violence Task Force. She said the need for more Black female voices on the task force needs to be addressed.

One goal for the task force is a call for Chicago Police officers focused specifically on Black women who are victims of crime – and who can help walk those women through the next steps.

Coleman called for a solutions-based approach to prevent the women from becoming victims again - with budget support from the Chicago Urban League and their partners.

"My thought is that $50,000 would be a good start for investing in this effort," said Chicago Urban League President Karen Freeman-Wilson, "not only supporting the work of the task force but raising awareness in the community."

"It takes us all together to right this wrong," added Ald. Coleman

Alderman Coleman hopes to make the task force expansion a reality by March - in celebration of Women's History Month.

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