Students march for national day of action against gun violence in solidarity of the anniversary of Columbine High School shootings

“Whose streets? Our Streets!” chant several hundred high school students and other young men and women as they walk west along East 55th Street near its intersection with South Kenwood Avenue during a National Student Walkout march protesting gun violence last Friday. –Marc Monaghan

Staff Writer

As part of the national day of action against gun violence and in commemoration of the 18th year anniversary of the Columbine shootings, student leaders from Hyde Park and around the city held a march, vigil and press conference last Friday afternoon at the University of Chicago hospital district.

The student groups who participated in the march included Kenwood Academy High School, GoodKids MadCity, University of Chicago, Hyde Park Academy High School, Belmont Cragin School, Englewood High School, Albany Park, and other communities. The GoodKids MadCity organization called for the event.

The group’s original goal was to march from Kenwood Academy High School, 5100 S. Blackstone Ave., to the soon to be completed Trauma Center near 57th street and Maryland Avenue, but was stopped at 58th Street near Maryland by police officers after traffic problems in the hospital’s trauma ward..

The purpose of the march was a call for solidarity to help address the need of using mental health and trauma-informed resources as an important element to addressing gun violence.

“GoodKids MadCity [organization] is doing the press conference and a vigil for all of the people that we’ve lost over the years,” said Devonta Boston, a representative of GoodKids Madcity (GKMC) organization. “[We have] over a thousand dolls on the ground to represent all the lives lost.”

During the event, the group presented a vigil created by Chicago Public School students featuring1500 dolls in honor of the 1500 people who lost their lives to gun violence since 2016.

“As we saw in both Florida and Columbine, the aftermath of violence has far-reaching effects and can be debilitating,” said Carlil Pittman, a representative of GoodKids MadCity. “Survivors live daily with physical, psychological and emotional impact of trauma. GKMC leaders want to add their voices to the efforts in advocating for increased funding for mental health services for those affected by violence.”

Pittman said along with the vigil, students dedicated 32 seconds of silence for the students who were killed in both the Columbine (15) and Parkland(17) shootings.