CHICAGO (WLS) --About 100 students, parents and teachers marched through Chicago's Englewood neighborhood Tuesday morning, calling for peace. They wanted to send a message to stop the violence after their classmate was shot and killed.
Henderson Elementary students continue to mourn the death of 14-year-old J'Quantae Riles. He was in the eighth grade.
"He wanted to play basketball and everything. He wanted be up top and follow his dreams. It hurts because some parents are afraid to send their kids outside," said Nacyra Anderson, a seventh grader.
Riles was gunned down in November as he walked home from a barber shop near 59th and Oakley. His mother, Franika Marshall, broke down during Tuesday's rally.
"The thing that I want to try to make everybody know is it's OK to speak up though. It's OK to speak up," Marshall said.
Three-year-old Ayden Deer was caught in the middle of a gang shooting near the school in February, police said. The boy was shot in the leg and left lying in the street.
"It's unacceptable. That's the message of the day. That three-year-old can't get shot in front of schools," said Dion McGill, program manager for the Illinois Council against Handgun Violence.
Police officers shut down several streets surrounding the school near 57th and Wolcott to allow the group to march.
Alderman Raymond Lopez (15th Ward) joined the demonstration, who said policing and school funding is key. He also has confidence in the city's new interim police superintendent, Eddie Johnson.
"I know he knows what's going on and I know he has empathy for my children. I'm confident that working together we can make a difference in this city," Lopez said.
The Illinois Council against Handgun Violence collaborated with students to organize the march. Members said they wanted to let the kids lead and send the message.