Northside Students Uniting Against Gun Violence
By Klaudia Jablonska
To honor the tragedy that occurred earlier this year and all the lives lost due to gang violence, Northside’s Students United For Change (SUFC) decided to prepare a performance to raise awareness for gun violence. SUFC asked students to pay a $2 entry fee and all the money raised from the event was donated to Strides For Peace. SUFC had been planning this event for months in light of this year’s events, and finally set on a date in May, which also allowed time for people to grieve Emanuel Gallegos’ passing.
The Students United For Change board learned about Strides For Peace after one of the board members found that the son of the program’s representatives attends Northside. After learning this information, SUFC reached out to Strides for Peace to organize this event. There were many things that came into organizing the event, SUFC had to find a venue, contact people, and make sure donations were acceptable and proper protocol was followed. Students both volunteered to speak at the event and others were reached out to.
At the beginning of the event, there was a small introduction from SUFC and then a representative from Strides For Peace elaborated on the purpose of their organization through a video. All funds from the even went to Strides For Peace. The performance began with a poem written by Steve Jaimes, Adv. 911, to honor his fallen friend Emanuel Gallegos. Following that, there was a duet, Benjamin Serwer, Adv. 003, played the piano while Aliya Glasper, Adv. 003, sang the song “Imagine” by John Lennon. The performance included more poems by Osazee Osaghae, Adv. 904, Naseeba Yunusa, Adv. 001, and Edward Kasule, Adv. 901. “You Are Not Alone” written by Michael Jackson, was sung by Olamide Babayeju, Adv. 002, and Monfaye Nabine, Adv. 002. The performances ended with a video by Lorena Rainer, Adv. 002, showcasing her concerns for the issue on gun violence.
This performance, although on Decision Day for the seniors, had quite the turnout, with many underclassmen eagerly waiting for the performances to begin while the student organizers waited for seniors to show up after taking their Decision Day pictures. One spectator, Destiny Lara, Adv. 004, said “Gun violence is such a controversial issue today and seeing my classmates express their opinions and experiences was something I am glad to have experienced. Everyone who performed did an amazing job showcasing their yearning for a stop on gun violence.” Co-President of Students United For Change, Mohammad Abunimeh, Adv. 004, described the event as a great experience for all students alike, having many different reactions on people. Abunimeh said “I didn’t think the performances would be as cathartic for some people as they were. Some students said the performances were healing, others cried, some laughed. I am grateful to know that people were able to experience a magnitude of emotions and that it was able to have an impact on the student body.”
At the end of the performance there was mention about a run hosted by Strides For Peace-Chicago’s Race Against Gun Violence. Students should have also received an email from administration detailing the event. The 5K race will take place on Thursday, June 6 in the evening and will start at Grant Park. Northside has created a team in honor of Emanuel Gallegos, with a blessing from the family about this, for the 2019 Race Against Gun Violence. The Northside community would love students, parents, and anyone willing to join the school at the race or welcomes any donations that could help the cause. If anyone is willing to sign up or donate, please select Friends of Northside College Prep as the team or organization, the link to the event is listed below. The more support we can show the better.