Our Perspectives, 25 Students, Two Teachers and First Annual Perspectives Peace & Leadership Camp

August 14, 2015

Summers in Chicago are generally considered a time to relax, spend time with friends, read a book, and participate in outdoor activities. However, summer in Chicago for many youth and residents is a time of rising gun violence that affects their daily lives and relationships with loved ones.

Like so many of our cities, Chicago is being torn apart by violence. Talk to the students at any school on the South and West Sides of the city, and almost every single student will tell you that someone they love has been impacted by gun violence. Almost every single one knows someone who has been shot.

But our young people are also a part of the solution. "I Am For Peace" shares the inspiring story of how students at Perspectives Charter Schools are taking lessons from the classroom to the streets to organize one of the largest student-led peace marches in the city's modern-day history and create a lasting movement for peace.

The I Am For Peace movement spawned the first ever Perspectives Peace & Leadership Camps this summer. During a two-week period in July, 25 students, two teachers and community partners like Noah’s Arc Foundation dedicated themselves to finding peaceful solutions to the violence that affects our communities. They were challenged to think through the local issues they face and to juxtapose them against international scenarios playing out in other parts of the world.

“We are so proud of our students for their commitment to peace and current social issues,” said Perspectives Network Peace Ambassador Lyndsey Schwartz. “I am impressed at how our students interpret the 26 principles of A Disciplined Life and apply them to implement restorative justice to counter the violence.”

At Perspectives, students learn to be socially aware and academically prepared through the A Disciplined Life social emotional learning education model, which uses 26 principles to help students develop positive self-perception, healthy relationships, and tools for productivity.

In a brief video showcasing student remarks about why they are for peace, senior at Perspectives Rodney D. Joslin Campus in the South Loop, Simone Williams said “We are all human, we all have feelings and that one person who is ready to pull the trigger might simply need that one person to root for them and be supportive.”

The students will continue their Peace & Leadership work throughout the 2015-2016 school year as ambassadors to their peers across the campus network.