Chicago youth speak out against Millennium Park curfew: 'Downtown was our outlet'

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Cloud Gate, which most know as the "Bean," was busy with tourists appreciating Millennium Park ahead of a holiday weekend. But some young Chicagoans say their visit isn't so carefree.

The City of Chicago instituted a curfew at the park with young people only allowed in with an adult after 6 p.m. after a 16-year-old was shot and killed in front of the "Bean" last week.

SEE ALSO | Chicago City Council delays action on Mayor Lightfoot's curfew for minors: 'This is ridiculous'

"It's not fair that they get to walk around without a care in the world and I have to be punished," said Bezzy Reed, with Communities United.

"I feel like it sends a bad message to the youth," Communities United Youth Leader Tree Brown said.

"How are the youth supposed to feel welcomed to a park in their own city?"

SEE ALSO | Lightfoot defends Millennium Park curfew for minors after deadly 'Bean' shooting

We met some participants and youth leaders with Communities United to discuss both the problem of violence and solutions.

"Beside putting a curfew and pushing out the violence from downtown and onto another community, they need to invest in the youth," Reed said. "Invest in the resources for the youth, and mental health."

"Downtown was our outlet to get away from our communities," Indya Pinkyard said. "We don't have as many resources as downtown has in our communities."

"We need help," participant Arianna Perez said. "We have people, power, we want to engage other youth as we see them."

They shared with some curious tourists what happened last week. They would like Seandell Holliday, the teenager who was killed, to be honored somehow at the park, and ultimately, for all of Chicago's youth to feel as welcomed in their home town as those visiting.
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