The GoodKidsMadCity coalition, made up of students across the city, is organizing a student “sit-/die-in” in front of John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital on Saturday, March 24. More than 200 youth are expected to turn out to represent the many lives lost to gun violence in Chicago, particularly by people of color.
GoodKidsMadCity, a partnership between inner-city students in Baltimore and Chicago with an active GoFundMe campaign, is the same coalition that oversaw the Chicago Public Schools walkout on March 14 in conjunction with National Walkout Day.
Across the country, National Walkout Day, a protest calling for new and improved gun laws, drew roughly a million students from 3,000 high schools.
During the sit-/die-in, which starts at 10 AM, students plan to chant “Chicago, Chicago, can’t you see what these gunshots did to me?” and “Whose streets? Our streets!” before conducting a press conference to read demands for gun reform and community revitalization. The students will then march to Union Park to join the national March for Our Lives movement.
“[The students’] goal is to emphasize their demands which are having wraparound services, trauma-informed schools, mental health care within schools, and challenging the narrative around school safety looking like a prison,” said Kofi Ademola, the adult organizer for GoodKidsMadCity. “They don’t want police and metal detectors in schools, they want trauma counselors.”
Several students from GoodKidsMadCity are also participating in the March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C., which is happening simultaneously with the march in Chicago.
After the students finish marching in Chicago, they will attend the No Cop Academy Youth Summit, which offers free workshops on organizing and civil engagement.
No Cop Academy is a campaign opposing Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to build a $95 million police training facility on the west side. Groups like Assata’s Daughters and Black Lives Matter Chicago say they want to see that money invested in communities rather than law enforcement.
“Looking to 2019, these students want Rahm out of the office,” Ademola says. “We have students that are 15, 16, 17 now that will have a voice in the 2019 election.”