[Congressional Record Volume 159, Number 153 (Wednesday, October 30, 2013)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E1599]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                           HON. AARON SCHOCK

                              of illinois

                    in the house of representatives

                      Wednesday, October 30, 2013

  Mr. SCHOCK. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to acknowledge the Rusty Keeble 
Foundation (RKF), which is dedicated to increasing gang awareness and 
reducing gang violence around the country. The RKF has launched an 
initiative entitled the GANGFREE America Campaign, which seeks to raise 
awareness by recognizing November as GANGFREE Illinois Month. This 
innovative initiative is aimed at fostering safe environments in 
communities across Illinois, including in Peoria, so that the children 
in those communities can continue to grow, learn, and reach their full 
potential free from the negative influences of gangs.
   Gang violence has been a blight on our communities for far too long. 
Currently, more than 1.4 million young people are involved with gangs, 
up 40 percent since 2009. In many areas across the United States, gang 
violence accounts for almost 50 percent of all violent crimes, and in 
some cities and suburban areas, that percentage is even higher.
   These staggering statistics are one representation of the effect of 
gangs on our communities and country, but the more potent manifestation 
of these numbers is the lost potential of the young people who get 
involved. Across our country, too many young men and women are seeing 
their future possibilities narrow into one act of violence, one drug 
deal, one prison term, after another.
   Initiatives like the GANGFREE America Campaign are taking the steps 
needed to correct our nation's gang-related problems and working to 
ensure brighter futures for our youth. The GANGFREE America Campaign's 
community-focused approach employs schools as well as law enforcement 
to unify and empower citizens against the formation and spread of gangs 
in towns and cities across Illinois as well as the entire country. It 
is my hope that with the help of organizations like the Rusty Keeble 
Foundation, we can eradicate the gang epidemic in the United States, 
and I am honored to rise today to recognize their courageous efforts.