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Streets on Fire: Chicago Youth organize rallies to speak out against city’s gun laws

Jocelyn Jones, Marlon Frazier and Willie Butler

Streets on Fire: Chicago Youth organize rallies to speak out against city’s gun laws

Willie Butler is tired of the funerals for his fellow classmates and neighborhood kids. A senior at Leo Catholic High School, Butler, has recently joined several hundred City of Chicago youth’s in an effort to curb the violence in the public school system where 35 students have been murdered in 2009.

As a partnership between the Safety Net Works of Auburn Gresham, “I-Care Week,”a series of youth-led events addressing the issue of gun violence are popping up around the Windy City. On April 21st, hundreds of kids rallied in front of the Thompson Center, calling on Mayor Richard M. Daley and other policy makers to act with a sense of urgency on alarming death toll. The following day, a youth rally took place at Chuck’s Gun Shop in Riverdale. The events will conclude with a debate and summit entitled, “The Take Back, Part 2.”

Rolling out was on the scene during the opening youth rally in downtown Chicago and spoke with some of students and their organizer. Below are their thoughts on the rise in youth crime, the inspiration for their rallies and why this is national issue. –gavin philip godfrey

Willie Butler, Senior, Leo Catholic High School
“We’re here and we’re standing up to the violence that’s taking over and we’re not going to let it happen anymore. We’re open to anybody coming to help us. If you want to send us money, donations – whatever – as long as you send us your help, your love, your support, we’re down.”

Marlon Frazier, Safety Net Works organizer
“There’s already 35 kids that have died this year alone about to break our record from last year. We’re coming at the legislators, we’re coming at the Mayors – we’re coming at anybody who doesn’t want to take the fact that kids are dying in the streets. We don’t care about the Olympics unless you’re talking about the kids dying in the streets. All we care about is saving our children, saving our youths because our youth is the future and unless we have the future that’s available with us then there will be no future.”

Joceyln Jones, Safety Net Works Coordinator
“This is a national issue because gun violence is everywhere, so if you get to the point where you’re desensitized and don’t care about little boys and little girls dying walking to the candy store or going on the bus, how can you get to that place. This campaign is to get people to start caring again, not just if it affects your family personally. You need to start caring!”