Potemkin State: Quinn Uses State Funds to Pay Parade Marchers
On a chilly afternoon this fall, teenagers across Chicago’s South Side were busy at work, earning $8.75 an hour to hand out fliers with a message of non-violence.
“Our message that we’re giving out today is about being healthy,” said 18-year-old Lucia Eloisa. “One of the key pointers is about taking time to reflect and seek inner peace.”
Eloisa’s part-time job was paid for by an ambitious state-funded program to keep at-risk teenagers out of trouble. It pumped nearly $55 million into Chicago’s toughest neighborhoods and three of its suburbs to stem unrelenting gang violence.
A four-month CNN investigation found that not only did the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative (NRI) pay teens to hand out fliers promoting inner peace, it also paid these at-risk teens to take field trips to museums, march in a parade with the governor, and even attend a yoga class to learn how to handle stress.
**UPDATE Special guest appearance from Fr. Mike Pfleger
Father Michael Pfleger, of the Church of St. Sabina — another of the NRI’s lead agencies — said the program’s overall success shouldn’t just be measured by Chicago’s crime rate.“Let’s not say because the NRI can’t show evidence of crime being down that it’s failed,” Pfleger said. “No, I look at the NRI with the boots on the street and within the community that we’re helping from getting worse.”
Read more at CNN