gun violence

Hundreds Come Out for Peace Rally in Chicago Following Violent Memorial Day Weekend

Parents and teachers vowed to work together to keep kids safe

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After a violent Memorial Day Weekend, Chicago Public Schools and Chicago Police are teaming up to keep kids safe this summer.

CPS partnered with the Far South Community Advisory for their annual peace rally, asking kids to think about their actions when they're out of school.

“I got a bright future ahead. I want to play basketball, so you got to stay out the way of that stuff. We are out here trying to stop all that, from killing each other,” 13-year-old Kameron Smalley said.

He was one of the hundreds of young kids and teenagers vowing to stay safe this summer.

The concern for teenagers comes after several high-profile deadly shootings unfolded across the city over the past weeks, including the shooting death of a 16-year-old at Millennium Park less than a month ago.

That shooting led to the city banning all unaccompanied teens from Millennium Park after 6 p.m., though there are some exceptions, and pushed the citywide curfew back from 11 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Those at the rally said change comes from within a group. At a time when Chicago has been reporting unprecedented cases of gun violence, these teens were taking a stand against it.

“If we get more young Black men out there to do greatness and get away from all the violence and the ghetto, it will be great for the community,” Shannon Henderson said.

A key factor in keeping children safe this summer is keeping them busy, some said. While many will be home with time on their hands, one man said he wants to teach them the value of hard work and the joy of earning a living.

“I believe in access and opportunity above all else and jobs is the one way that we can do it while kids are out of school,” Tim Brennan, co-founder of Operation Basketball, said.

CPD had a strong presence at the rally to let the teens know that police are their ally.

“We want to see every student that is released on June 14 return back to school in September as they left in June. We should not have to lose a kid over the summer to gun violence. A kid should not lay down at 9 or 10 p.m. and hear gun fire in their community. Enough is enough,” 5th District Cmdr. Glenn White said.

The city of Chicago is bringing awareness to the victims of gun violence with a new initiative called "The Ripple Effect." To learn more about this project, click here.

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