Make Chicago SAFE (How It Can Be Done)

Chicago Civic Media
3 min readAug 16, 2023

by Steve Sewall

Chicago’s violence is of control, as everyone knows. It’s citywide. No neighborhood is safe. Racial tensions are high. And the city is polarized, pro and con police.

Residents and businesses are fleeing the city in droves.

Here’s something people don’t know: Chicago can solve its violence. The Windy City can make itself SAFE.

Safe for all residents. The safest big city in America.

Hi, my name is Steve Sewall. I’m a career Chicago educator and media entrepreneur.

And, the founder of Chicago Civic Media (CCM), a small group of volunteers that’s worked tirelessly over three decades to empower Chicago students, adults and city leaders to solve major problems in education and public safety.

So: how can a bitterly divided Chicago possibly make itself safe?

Folks, it’s the digital age. Has been for decades. Chicago can (at long last) deploy the immense problem-solving power and unifying potential of the modern media — social, online, community, mainstream — of its digital age public communication system.

We’re here to help Chicago’s media mobilize ALL Chicagoans — City Hall, law enforcement, public health professionals, students, educators, foundations, businesses, anti-violence groups and citizens of all ages and all backgrounds — to MAKE CHICAGO SAFE for ALL residents.

That’s the core of our Citywide Safety plan. But the plan is not ours alone. It belongs to Chicago.

Because the power to make Chicago either SAFE or VIOLENT in the digital age belongs to all 2.6 million Chicagoans (and their digital tools).

It may be too late for Chicago ever to recover from the wounds of six decades of unsolved (and unreduced) gang/drug/young/gun violence.

It’s best and perhaps only chance to do so is to to unleash and harness the game-changing, safety-generating power of the People of Chicago: their experiences, insights, talents, energies, wisdom and love of Sweet Home Chicago.

See our plan displayed here.

And watch this 20-second “ChicagoWRKS” video summary:

With this plan in mind, we at CCM firmly believe that Chicago is poised to realize the dream of Citywide Safety.

So how, and where, to begin?

First things first: Chicagoans need and deserve to see their top leaders working together to make Chicago SAFE.

Not bickering, blaming and buck-passing, as Chicagoans constantly see them in local media.

Two Chairs, our three-minute TV news feature, shows Chicagoans what they’ve never seen before: pairs of top Chicago leaders working together to make Chicago SAFE.

It will show top leaders — even publicly feuding leaders — collaborating to complete, on deadline, meaningful projects to make Chicago SAFE.

Overnight, this tiny news feature will awaken Chicagoans (and Chicago’s media) to a whole new approach to violence.

And Two Chairs is just for starters. Next on our card of media innovations is Four Steps, our weekly 30-minute, civic-purposed, voter-driven reality TV program.

Four Steps shows eight small teams of talented young Chicagoans taking the four steps towards a successful solution:

  • Creation by teams
  • Presentation on citywide TV
  • Selection by expert panels and viewer votes
  • Implementation by the appropriate agency.

Along the way, the eight teams compete and collaborate to earn citizen and city leader support for a) their amazing, cost-effective solutions to Chicago’s violence and b) their profound collaboration with other teams.

How your donations will be spent

We seek $56,000 to support our work in advancing Chicago SAFE over the next twelve months.

These funds will be earmarked for concept development, project advocacy, necessary business operations and staff salaries essential to the realization of this game-changing public safety project.

Donations are not tax deductable. We are an independent group, neither for-profit nor not-for-profit.

About Chicago Civic Media

Visit our CCM Projects page for highlights of our three decades of work empowering Chicago students, adults and city leaders to solve major problems in education and public safety.

I hold degrees from Harvard (A.B. ‘64), Yale (M.A.T. ’66) and the University of California at Berkeley (Ph.D. ‘91). My CV is here.

And Thanks

. . . for viewing our materials and considering our request. We learn from your feedback!

CCM is 100% self-funding self-funding at this point. Here’s our GoFundMe, on which this piece is based. Thanks for your support.



Chicago Civic Media

Making citizens and governments responsive and accountable to each other at all levels of government with impartial, problem-solving political discourse.