South Side peace rally hopes to steer youths away from violence this summer

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ByTre Ward via WLS logo
Friday, June 3, 2022
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As Chicago students near the end of the school year, educators and law enforcement pledge to see them through the summer months while many face gun violence in their neighborhoods.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- As Chicago students near the end of the school year, educators and law enforcement pledge to see them through the summer months while many face gun violence in their neighborhoods.

At Gately Park in Pullman, there was music and dancing on a beautiful Friday afternoon, but underneath it all is a message of peace as students look ahead to summer months without school.

The first ever Far South Peace Walk was held in Pullman Friday.

"This peace rally is centered around-- is student centered, youth centered," said Joyce Chapman, member of the Chicago Board of Education.

But in light of recent mass shootings both in and out of the classroom, some students say they feel less safe during the summer months.

"But, now school isn't safe anymore, so the only way we could create that peace is if we all have peaceful mindsets," said Nicole Whitney, junior CPS student.

"Being a person who lives around that, it's kind of terrible to hear," said sophomore Ra'Shyah Hoskins. "You're trying to do work, you're trying take care of your family, and just to hear gunshots!"

That reality of gun violence just steps away from many of these young people's homes has school leaders and law enforcement pledging to see these students to their next school year.

"We want to see every student that's released on June 14th return back to school in September as they left in June," said 5th District Commander Glenn White.

"We keep trying! We keep being there for them because the worst thing we could do is just dismiss them," said Charletta McDonald, Morgan Park High School CSI counselor.