KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:
We're going to hear about something radical that a group of kids in Chicago did near the end of this school year. They played in a nearby park. That is radical because shootings in the area have meant the kids had to spend their recesses inside for more than two months this year. So eighth graders decided to organize a protest against gun violence.
Four hundred and fifty students marched in the West Side neighborhood around their school, Polaris Charter Academy, and ended by playing in that park. WBEZ's Linda Lutton went along.
UNIDENTIFIED CHILDREN: (Chanting) What do we want? Peace. When do we want it? Now.
EZEKIEL BOOSE: Our goal is to try and stop violence for the day.
JAKHIYA WHITE: The kids in our community and in our school need a day to have fun with each other and not think about getting shot.
UNIDENTIFIED CHILDREN: (Chanting) Peace and unity in our community. Peace and unity in our community.
DAIMON WARE: It really started when we were in fifth grade.
NYLA MOSS: We were really focusing on civil rights.
DAIMON: We went down to Birmingham, Ala. where we met foot soldiers.
NYLA: Foot soldiers that created a march.
DAIMON: Nineteen sixty-three Children's March. And this told us that not only adults can make change, but children also can, too.
DARRELYN WILLIAMS: We're really determined to stop violence.
UNIDENTIFIED CHILDREN: (Chanting) We are not going away. We deserve a place to play. We are not going away. We deserve a place to play.
EZEKIEL: Our goal is that, like, while people are marching in the street, like, people come out and march with us.
JAKHIYA: That's why we're taking such a long route 'cause we want people to see us, join us.
UNIDENTIFIED CHILDREN: (Chanting) What do we want? Peace. When do we want it? Now. What do we want? Peace. When do we want it? Now.
NYLA: We did some anonymous surveys for the seventh and eighth graders. And we found out that about 91 out of 100 kids said that they were affected by violence, whether it was someone in their family getting shot or they were one of the people that got hurt.
DARRELYN: There was a lot of kids who knew five or more people personally who got shot.
EZEKIEL: If we weren't doing anything about it, I think that we'd be part of the problem too because, I mean, we're being, like, bystanders, and that's not what we want to be.
JAKHIYA: I think we want people to know that we don't think it's OK and that there are people trying to stop violence.
MCEVERS: That story was produced by Linda Lutton. And told by...
JAKHIYA: Jakhiya White.
DAIMON: Daimon Ware.
NYLA: Nyla Moss.
DARRELYN: Darrelyn Williams.
EZEKIEL: Ezekiel Boose.
(SOUNDBITE OF GOGO PENGUIN'S "KAMALOKA")
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