Chicago teens are urging the mayor and police superintendent to do something to reduce violence, particularly gun violence, in their city. Many share their particular experiences, and, according to the article, are entering a college writing program with an emphasis in reducing violence.
From the article:
For the last two years, the Columbia College’s Columbia Links writing program, intended for high-school students, has seen more and more teen applicants come in wanting to explore the topic of violence in their neighborhoods.
“They’re asked on the application what issue facing Chicago teens they’d like to focus on. Overwhelmingly, it was violence,” Executive Director Brenda Butler said.
They’d be diverted — to topics like teen joblessness and attributes of rap music.
But this bloody summer, with murders up 27 percent, most of the teens insisted.
“It has become so much a part of their lives it can’t be ignored. So we said, ‘Go ahead.’ The result was poignant, revealing, candid and uncensored,” says Butler.
“Don’t Shoot. I Want to Grow Up,” is a compilation of letters and essays addressed to Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Supt. Garry McCarthy that the students hope to give them as their summer program heads toward a closing ceremony Thursday.
A mayoral spokesman said a meeting with McCarthy is being arranged for the teens.
“I want to tell them how I now hate going on social networks because it might be someone me or my friends know, killed in gun violence,” said Diamond Trusty, 16, of Humboldt Park, a junior at Prosser Career Academy where Dantril Brown attended.
“You log on to Twitter, and it’s always, ‘R.I.P. trending.’ Someone else gone.”
One student, Raymond Roundtree, 17, of Bronzeville, a sophomore at Options Laboratory High School, writes he and his friends now call Chicago “Chi-raq.”
For young black males, it may as well be war-torn Iraq. “I have been jumped, been pushed to fight, and have been robbed. ...I became immune to violence,” he writes.