After two of their classmates were shot and killed outside the school on Friday, students at Benito Juarez Community Academy staged a walkout on Monday to protest gun violence.
The monument, which had grown throughout the weekend, attracted students. They spoke about the young people who had died and held protests outside the school to condemn the violence.
Diana Trevino, a student, was afraid to return.
She said that she was “a little anxious” because it had happened just last Friday, two days before, and that “you never know what’s going to happen, whether they’re going to come back today or not.”
Nathan Billegas, 14, and Brandon Perez, 15, were shot and killed outside the Pilsen neighborhood school on Friday afternoon.
When they heard the bullets, many kids fled for safety. Two additional teens suffered injuries.
“It was traumatizing in the same way. I couldn’t even fall asleep at night because I kept rehearsing the same thought “said Camila Lopez, one of Perez’s pals. “As I was reading over our messages, I couldn’t help but keep crying. He was too virtuous. Too sweet for this world, he was. I’m not sure how his mother must feel. He frequently brought up his younger sister.”
“He and I shared one class. My final class with him was on the day that it actually occurred, and it was also my last class overall. And I just can’t fathom that was going to be the last time I saw him “said Jesse Rodriguez, a sophomore.
Photos of a person connected to the shooting were released by Chicago police.
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Kiya Vaughn, who organized the walkout, claimed that “no one should have to go to school terrified.” “In all honesty, I think we should just come here to study. We shouldn’t have to travel here and stress about potential death or other issues.”
Vaughn demanded that gang activities in and around the school be addressed by the administrators.
Since we come here every day and have to be aware that there are people who could be taken away but aren’t, it’s frightening for those of us who aren’t in gangs, she added.
In order to shield students from ongoing violence, Vaughn and other students are calling for increased protection.
Student Christina De Alejandro stated that it was a poor idea to remove the police from the school. “At the time, it seemed like a wonderful idea, but it’s kind of getting back to us now,”
Rodriguez remarked, “I think that would make me feel comfortable. Not even security, just police roaming around.”
The student’s call to action is being backed by local activists with an organization called the Violence Interrupters.
According to Tio Hardiman, president of Violence Interrupters, “no kids that attend these high schools should ever have to fear about losing his or her life.” “Crimes of such nature shouldn’t ever take place in front of these institutions.”
According to CPS representatives, the students in this area have a loud voice and they support how they are using it.