Fifth Graders Paint A Different Picture Of Chicago’s Violent Neighborhoods

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Remember when Sway sat down with Common and the rapper called Chicago neighborhoods “war zones”? Well a group of fifth graders would like you to know that they see it differently.

With the guidance of their teacher, Linsey Rose, 28 fifth graders from the Bradwell School of Excellence wrote an op-ed that appeared in The Chicago Tribune recently.

The students collaborated on the effort to show that their neighborhood, located in Chicago’s South Shore area, wasn’t the war zone so many news outlets depict it as. In fact, they call out the reporters who come in to cover shootings saying, “you don’t really know us.”

Two students, Rondayle and Damiontaye, spoke with NPR, reading excerpts from the “counternarrative:”

“We want you to know us. We aren’t afraid. We know that man on the corner. He works at the store and gives us free Lemonheads. Those girls jumping rope are Precious, Aniya and Nivia. The people in the suits are people not going to funerals, but to church. …

“If you listen, you’ll hear the laughter and the chattering from the group of girls on the corner who are best friends and really care about each other. Do you see the smile on the cashier’s face when the kids walk in? Why? Because this neighborhood is filled with love. This isn’t Chi-raq. This is home. This is us.”

We love that Rose encouraged her students to tell readers what the students’ neighborhood was really like. That said, it’s clear that gun violence in Chicago, as Common notes, is still a problem. In fact, according to The Chicago Tribune, there have been 1,254 shooting victims in the city this year alone.

In the wake of shootings like the one at Newtown and the near-daily ones in Chicago, it’s clear that we still have a long way to go where gun violence is concerned. If you want to get more involved in ending gun violence, check out what Everytown is doing.

Photo: (NPR)

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