This morning Youth from Albany Park to Kenwood gathered for a rally in the heart of downtown right in front of Thompson Center, protesting budget cuts and demanding investment in the cities youth. As a member of the cities youth i felt it was my duty to attend this cause. The event started with students giving heartfelt testimonies to troubling events in their communities. One Albany Park resident told about the tragic story of his brother who once was an honor roll student. He rolled with the wrong crowd and his grades began to go down and eventually he dropped out of school. Now he is a gang member. He wished if his brother could return to normal life. In many neighborhoods where there is a lack of youth programs and insufficient funding there can be an abundance of gang violence.
City youth need structured after school programs. This will provide them a safe environment where they can make a positive impact on society. Youth are 26% of Chicago area population. This is a significant number but surely not big enough to suck dry the cities budget. Today’s youth are well informed and active. When our interests are hurt we are conscious enough to gather and make our voices heard. Those who attended todays event spoke out against against more liquor stores in the neighborhood than parks, more empty lots and junkyard for drug dealing than play grounds. The protesters demanded more youth jobs, camps, activity centers and skill enhancement programs, more help with school and college tuition and other educational activities. The rally was supported by state senators and area youth program organizers.
Todays generation that are born into poverty are victim of circumstance. They didn’t choose to live in poor housing conditions, violent neighborhoods or gang infested neighborhoods. Todays event wasn’t all protesting , it also had plenty of fun. There was an awesome live DJ. Some amazing spoken word and the break dancing crew “Stick and Move”(next time you’re having a party make sure you call these guys, they’re great!)
One of the volunteers for spoken word recited a very touching line, “Our Chicago Public Schools are swimmin pools, and we’re drowning in problems.” I urge everyone young and old to get involved in their communities, demand action from the men and women in power and make your voices heard. We don’t have to drown in some ocean of worry, together we can sail right through.