CPS student remembered as hero

School officials call for end to violence
March 19, 2009 3:31:22 PM PDT
The classmates of a student killed by gunfire are demanding an end to violence in the city's streets. Greg Robinson was killed last Friday. Thursday, family and fellow student rallied for peace as they celebrated the 15-year-old's life.

At Thursday's wake and Friday's funeral, friends and classmates of Gregory Robinson will say their individual goodbyes, but his entire high school turned out Thursday to honor him with a powerful rally and memorial service.

The students at Simeon have spent the last week dealing with loss -- the pain and the anger it brings. They have also been urged, not only by adults, but by fellow students, to channel their emotions, to understand empowerment.

"Let me share with you how powerful we are. It took the youth in the Civil Rights Movement to bring about change. We have the power. So if we want to live, we have to show them the value of our future," said Ronnie Moseley, Simeon Career Academy student.

Simeon students were among those who went to Springfield Wednesday to lobby for tougher gun laws, but this gathering in front of the school Thursday morning was about honoring Gregory Robinson, a 14-year-old freshman who was shot to death in a spray of bullets last Friday as he returned to his Morgan Park home from a basketball game.

Members of Robinson's family thanked his fellow students for their emotional support. And they too are angry. There have been no arrests yet.

"The boy that did this hurt us in so many ways. I think, Does that boy know how much he hurt us individually and collectively?" said Brittany Orange, victim's cousin.

Collectively extends beyond a family, to a student body, to a school system, to a city.

The mother of another young man shot and killed on a school bus two years ago this May makes this point, that quite often, people know things, and if they say silent, it only empowers violence.

"It's time to step up to the plate. It's time for you to take control of what's going on out there. That means letting us know who has these guns, who's killing these people," said Annette Holt, mother of Blair Holt.

Chicago school CEO Ron Huberman said Thursday CPS wants to deemphasize the practice of referring to slain students by numbers, saying it is demeaning and disrespectful. That practice was advanced by his predecessors who felt the tragedies were not getting the public attention that they deserved.

Whatever the numbers, the problem is getting worse.