Chicago students work with community leaders to stop violence

CHICAGO (WLS) -- On Tuesday, a man in his 20s was shot and killed on the 1400-block of West Jonquil in the Rogers Park neighborhood. The gunman was not found. That man is just one of the almost 1,000 people that have been shot in Chicago so far this year. Because of the continued violence, some young Chicagoans are working with community leaders to end it.

On Tuesday, hundreds of students from the city and suburbs got into real talk about the violence and the solutions at the Chicago Youth Peace Summit.

"Us being teens, we are the voice of the community so we have to speak up because we are the most affected, I believe," Christian Wheeler, junior at Perspectives Leadership Academy, said.

"Lately some people haven't had as much attention as they should," Andrew Palmer, junior at Perspectives Leadership Academy, said.

"Just because we're not seeing it and it's not the headlines doesn't meant it's not an issue that we need to take action with," Cailey June student at New Trier HS

Among the workshops was one about creating a business for peace.

Dan Johnson was the facilitator volunteering to offering teens a business model which he said can be a real option for young people heading down the wrong path.

"If you can get a young person to see themselves out of where they are, it gives them the motivation to pursue where they desire to be," Johnson said.

On Monday, there were three people killed in shootings and several more injured by gun violence.

A Perspectives Charter School senior who has been affected by violence moderated a discussion with Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson and Father Michael Pfleger.

They empowered the young people to be agents for change and recruit other young people to focus on their futures

"Are you into the future? You have dreams. You want to have a house, you want to have a family, you want to have a car, you want to have freedom and you want to achieve every purpose you have from God, let me recruit you because I'm going somewhere," Father Pfleger said.

"Talk to them about it and when they go home at night, they might not tell you this when they're talking to you but they will think about what you said to them," Johnson said.

The superintendent also shared a personal story about when he was a teenager. When he was a teen, he was with other teens and one of them suggested they rob a store. He decided to stay behind with another young man. He said he and that young man are doing well. But he said that in that moment, some of those other teens took a different turn.

The students at the summit will be putting their words into action. They are planning a summit and rally on May 26 in Englewood.
Copyright © 2019 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.