Saturday, March 21, 2009

1,500 Simeon students told: We must stop the killing

More than 1,500 Simeon High School students were told Thursday that the fight against the kind of senseless gun violence that claimed 14-year-old classmate Gregory Robinson III must begin with them.

"Stand up. Be responsible. Help us fight this fight to get these guns off the streets,'' an impassioned Annette Nance-Holt, mother of slain Julian student Blair Holt, told a sea of students during a third-period tribute to Robinson on the street outside Simeon.

"Our people came from slavery to this?'' Nance-Holt said. "We came all this way to have nothing except funerals we can't afford to pay for?''

Nance-Holt and others urged kids to alert police, pastors or school staff if they hear of trouble on the streets or know of gang-bangers packing guns.

"Who has these guns? Who's killing these innocent people? You know who they are. You know who the gang-bangers are. You are just as responsible as we are for letting this happen in our communities,'' Nance-Holt said.

Some students choked back tears as they heard their freshman classmate described as a "hero'' who was shot to death in the back seat of a car last Friday as he protected his cousin's 10-month-old son and 4-year-old goddaughter from a hail of bullets.

Robinson was shot in the back, and no one else was injured, as he and two older cousins were traveling home from a Simeon basketball game. Police think Robinson was not the intended target.

Simeon class president Ronnie Mosley urged students to honor Robinson, one of 29 CPS students killed so far this school year, by launching a peace campaign.

"From now on Simeon, we need to be an example,'' Mosley told the hushed crowd outside the school at 8147 S. Vincennes.

"Can we at least have 29 days of nonviolence and peace? Can we at least do that?'' Mosley asked. "Let's go out and be that solution.''
What can be done to cut that number in half or even cut it down to zero, if at all possible?

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