CPS students lead anti-violence rallies across city

CHICAGO (WLS) -- There's a new effort to stop the violence in Chicago lead by Chicago Public School children on their summer break as Mayor Rahm Emanuel made an announcement about the impact of a safety initiative during the school year.

Young people and parents took a break from summer camp to rally on Wednesday. One rally was organized by The Grace & Peace Community in the Hermosa neighborhood. Over 100 neighborhood rallies were hosted Wednesday morning at designated CPS Safe Haven sites throughout Chicago.

"One of the things that we really want to teach our kids is that we're going to say no to violence," said Angelina Zayas, The Grace & Peace Community.

The purpose was to emphasize an anti-violence message going into a holiday weekend. Sulma Perez is grateful her kids are involved in the community's activities. She says recent shootings nearby remind her of the reality.

"I live on the corner, and right there on the corner there was a shooting the other day," said Perez.

In Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder was present for an event at Chicago Police Department headquarters.

"The emphasis on kids, on kids, our children, I think is critical," said Holder.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Chicago Public Schools saw a drop in shootings involving their students.

"You can actually see kids stay on the right track, and so when they're somewhere they're on the track to graduating, rather than on the street corner and learning the values there," said Mayor Emanuel.

The mayor and other officials acknowledged the statistics are encouraging but there are still problems. Some educators and community activists shared methods they see work in averting violence, like teaching students to work through conflict.

Attorney General Holder was in Chicago in 2009 after the fatal beating of a Fenger High School student. He says he was grateful to be back to talk about progress and solutions.
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