Chicago students protest gun violence


Trinity Collins

A Chicago student rallies against gun violence on behalf of people of color at the April 20 march.

Rachel Krumholz, In-Depth Editor

In efforts to protest gun violence that has predominantly plagued communities of color throughout history and commemorate victims of recent school shootings, hundreds of students participated in the Chicago Public School Walkout last Friday, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine school shooting.

“So many young kids of color have been dying and it doesn’t seem like the national media cares,” Jones College Prep junior Andrea Salamanca said.

Salamanca was one of several student speakers to begin the protest, which took place in Grant Park.

The Chicago School Student speakers underscored how gun violence has been prevalent in schools, but has disproportionately affected communities of color over the last several decades.

“I want to make it very clear that we are not just here for mass shootings,” Jasmine Morton of Whitney Young High School said.
Speaking on police brutality, she noted that “police are not doing this on purpose.”

“You love our hairstyle, you love getting tan so you can look like us, you love our music, our clothes and our style…if you loved black people as much as you love black culture, this country would be a much better place,” Walter Payton sophomore Raquel Simpson, another student speaker, said.

After the various students finished their speeches, protesters marched through Grant Park, chanting and drawing attention from pedestrians.
With efforts to show support at the walkout, some ETHS students spread the word of the Chicago protest throughout the school, informing people of the event and encouraging them to attend.

Organizers reiterated that this protest was not to involve leadership from ETHS students, rather to recognize of the voices of Chicago students.
Not long before the Walkout began, yet another school shooting occurred at Forest High School in Ocala, Florida. One student was wounded.

According to the National Walkout page, around 2,000 groups were registered to participate. Walkouts took place all across the country in support of gun control; Chicago’s, though, was unique in its focus on urban violence.

“One of the main ways people can get educated is through events like this and engaging in dialogue,” Walter Payton College Prep senior Ryan Collins said. “This is a very great start to an even larger movement.”