By Raquel Harris – Bronzeville – Chicago, IL
Earlier this morning, hundreds of students and teachers from two Perspectives Charter School campuses marched through the streets of Chicago to fight for peace, and the very cause that they were fighting for brought some participants to tears.
I Am for Peace: A Student Documentary For Change
Perspectives Charter Schools students are leading a campaign to promote peace in Chicago—”I’m for Peace.” Through the A Disciplined Life education model they are developing strategies and actions to curb violence and promote peace. These same students are creating a documentary video to showcase their efforts.
“It was very powerful to walk with my students holding the peace sign, it was pretty moving actually,” said Samantha Mondro.
The march was titled “I Am Peace,” and started around 9:30 a.m. at South State Street and West Cermak Road. The march ended on East 36th Street and South Wabash where the open “Peace Jam Fest” was being held. The Peace Jam Fest was the resting stop for the marchers where they were able to enjoy music and other activities.
The word “peace” can have a variety of different meanings, but for the city of Chicago peace is ironically a war that Chicagoans are fighting daily to win.
Chicago is known for its festivals, music, and culture, but what some may not know is that it also a haven for gun violence, gang activity, and high death rates. The city became so infamous for these traits that citizens nicknamed the city “Chiraq” because of the war-like similarities to the War on Terror in Iraq.
Scimone Williams is an 11th grade student at Perspective Charter School, Math and Science Academy, and talked about the violence in her community.
“Things are really getting crazy, you can’t go out with friends or family without even worrying about your house getting broken into, or getting killed, you know? It’s not fair that students can’t go out and have fun,” said Williams.
Mondro, is an 11th grade English and Composition teacher and said that she participated in this march because her students are important to her. “We think of each other as a family, and whatever affects my students affects me so I think it’s really important that we take responsibility for each other because that’s all that we have,” Mondro said.
Tears began to fill Mondro’s eyes as she expressed what the march meant to her emotionally. “This is why I became a teacher to see them [the students] doing something that’s real. It made me proud to be a charter school teacher and an educator; these kids are definitely a part of my family.” Mondro said.