Student Voice: Chicago Youth Can Make a Difference and Stop Gun Violence

Chicago is arguably one of the best cities in America. Trade and business are booming and there are a ton of opportunities available for all groups of people. Youth have the opportunity to go to some of the best schools in the nation and can prepare for the real world through curricular and extracurricular programs.

But like all great cities, Chicago has its own shadows. As of mid-July 2018, according to the Chicago Tribune, there have been 1,502 shooting incidents.

As horrific as these incidents are, Chicago’s youth are not willing to succumb to the violence within their own environment. Student activists from groups like Good Kids Mad City and March for Our Lives participate in rallies and protests across the city to fight for the right to live safely and peacefully.

Back in March, Chicago teens took part in the National School Walkout to demand an end to gun violence, and thousands more gathered in Union Park to demand stricter gun laws. This summer, Chicago teens have taken part in rallies and civil disobedience on the Dan Ryan Expressway to call for gun reforms. All these actions demonstrate the resilience of these teens. These actions also prove that they are willing to take ahold of their future and fight to make their lives, as well as everybody else’s, better.

Violence can cause our youth to become distracted, isolated, or hurt. But based on what I’ve been seeing, I don’t think it’s impacted our youth as negatively as we initially thought. I believe that the public’s first thought was that because the violence was being committed by as many young people as those who are older, other youth would become misled and overall abandon their goals. It would make sense because all these kids see are violence, what else are they supposed to do in response to the acts being commited. Fortunately, instead of the youth backing down and following the examples put out in front of them, they ended up disproving our initial impression of the circumstance and started fighting back.

Ideally the solution to stop violence in Chicago is to reform gun laws. But this whole love against hate movement is the exact solution to fight against violence within the city of Chicago. Teens taking hold of their lives by voicing their opinions have an impact and will make it easier to tighten up those laws. If more and more teens join, and can peacefully get adults to advocate for their cause, senators and representatives will have to start fulfilling their needs by serving as their voice in Washington D.C.

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Arianna Rangel

As of summer 2018, Arianna Rangel is a rising junior at Lincoln Park High School. Presently, Arianna is active with the Hashtags and Handles Program offered through After School Matters. She is committed to making the world a better place through her school and community activities.