Music Executive Aaron Paxton Arnold Pens Open Letter To Help Save Kids In Chicago And Cease Gun Violence

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The murder rate and abundance of crime in Chicago has been out of hand for the past few years and the government seems to have turned a blind eye to it.  But for one music executive, the problem hits home personally because it’s the same city he grew up in.  Aaron Paxton Arnold, a former intern of Diddy’s  at  Bad Boy Records and now president of MusicIsMyBusiness as well as entertainment news correspondent for radio station Kiss 104.1 in Atlanta, is tackling the problem head on.

The South-side of Chicago native penned an open letter to coincide with CNN’s new original series “Chicago Land” which also sheds light on this epidemicand how the government helped cause this travesty.

 

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CNN’s CHICAGOLAND…A MIDWEST STORY by Aaron Paxton Arnold

    “CHICAGO isn’t just another midwest city, it’s the soul of who I am” 

I grew up on the south-side of Chicago.  I have lived in Tallahassee, FL, New York, NY and Atlanta, GA, but it was growing up in Chicago that gave me all the survival skills I’d needed to succeed in each city.  So when I watched the first episode of CNN’s “Chicagoland” special, I was excited that Robert Redford, a California native and Hollywood legend, was the executive producer.  I was even more excited that CNN, the first national network that I ever appeared on, gave my hometown a platform to help spark the change that has been much needed.

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However, I wasn’t excited about what I saw – the school closings, shootings, lack of resources for teachers, community leaders and ultimately the disenfranchisement of mostly African Americans.  I wasn’t surprised to see this happening because this storm had been brewing since I was a freshman in high school.  Though it’s one of the greatest cities in America, it’s also one the most segregated cities in America.  As viewers continue to watch this ground-breaking series, I hope this essay can create a dialogue about following:

THE GREAT GENTRIFICATION OF CHICAGO 

My freshman year in high school I wrote a column via the Chicago Tribune Kids section on the murder of a 7 year old boy, Dantrell Davis, killed in gang crossfire while walking to Jenner Elementary School with his mother in the Cabrini-Green housing projects.  As a high school freshman at Kenwood Academy, I couldn’t understand how someone younger than me could be murdered doing something right.  But I also couldn’t understand why Mr. Davis was getting so much national attention when he wasn’t the first child to be killed due to gang violence in Chicago.

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I came to realize that the reason his murder was receiving so much attention was due to Cabrini-Green, the massive housing project made famous by the television show “Good Times”… it was in close proximity to what is known as the “Gold-Coast” of Chicago, thus making its land extremely valuable.  

The more negative attention Cabrini-Green received, the easier it made it for city officials to tear down the cluster of high-rise, high-risk buildings and replace them with the landscape of high-rise, high-priced condos.  Yet on the other side of town, there sat a housing project by the name of Robert Taylor Homes that was just as violent and even more massive, but Robert Taylor Homes didn’t get nearly the amount of attention because the land wasn’t nearly as valuable.  But all of this was…

Continue reading at AaronPaxtonArnold.com

 

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