Thursday, May 28, 2009
At the beginning of May students from Little Village Lawndale Highschool, North Lawndale College Prep, Farragut, and Castellanos rallied and marched against violence in the Little Village and North Lawndale communities in Chicago, IL. Gangs in Chicago are a part of everyday life of students, whether they join or not. Neighborhoods are divided up into often small turfs that are dangerous, even for non affiliated students to cross in and out of. In Little Village the struggle is to create designated safe passages that can get students safely to school, jobs or events across opposing gang turf.
Read more after the jump!
Gang conflict within the school is also a common problem and these gang conflicts can quickly become racial conflicts. Chicago is highly racially segregated and then further segregated by gangs. Schools are a meeting point crossing neighborhoods, racial and gang lines. LVLHS is majority Latino, but also has a growing African American student body. African American students come from neighboring communities that have different gang affiliatioins. When gang conflict between Latino and African American gangs or gang members happen on or around school, larger conflict ensues. These larger conflicts turn into racially targeted violence that create huge racial tensions in the school and community.
The Unity March was called to address these issues, and bring youth in the community together against violence.
The rally was led by students who talked about the need to end violence, read the names of the 36 Chicago Public School students murdered this year and sang the Black National Anthem. The March went through the center of the community and through the neighborhood dividing line between the Latino community of Little Village and the African American community of North Lawndale.
This is the first of many actions neighborhood members and youth will take to curb the violence Little Village and North Lawndale students live with everyday. One of the many demands: Jobs for Youth!