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March for Peace

Shootings and gang violence in some Chicago neighborhoods are routine. According to the Chicago Police Department, there have been 161 murders in the city this year. In May alone, 46 people were killed.

In 2012, three students from Perspectives Charter School, Janeya Cunningham, Razia Hutchins, and Maurice Young, decided to raise awareness about the violence that was becoming all too common. They organized a peace march, which drew thousands of people and has become an annual event.

This year's march will take place on June 5. Students from Chicago and elsewhere will be joined by community leaders, teachers, and parents on their march through the South Side of Chicago. As Janeya said: "We ask the rest of the world to join hands with us in neighborhoods everywhere because peace is a possibility."

My mother, Diana Shulla-Cose, is the co-founder of Perspectives Charter Schools. She is proud of her students' efforts to bring about positive change. "We have to listen to the voices of our young people," she says, "and provide them the forum to spread their ideas about peace."



Last year, Perspectives students helped raise more than $35,000 for a documentary, I Am For Peace, which showcases their efforts. The film is screened in schools, homes, and businesses across the country. It features U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and actress Jennifer Hudson, among others. Says Hudson, "I am so proud of what the students at Perspectives are doing. They are leading by example."

The organizers of this year's march have invited people from nearly 20 schools, 10 cities, and 3 countries to participate. They are hoping for the biggest turnout yet. They are also hoping that their efforts will help bring about a more peaceful city.

Photo by Clyde Robinson