CeaseFire Holds ‘Peace Summit’ For Chicago Students

CHICAGO (CBS) — Summer can be a dangerous time for kids, especially those in neighborhoods plagued by crime and gang activity.

So a “peace summit” was held Friday for more than 1,000 school kids.

As CBS 2’s Mai Martinez reports, the goal was to get through to the students before gang members do.

Music filled the air Friday in Logan Square, but kids who live there and in neighboring Humboldt Park are used to hearing different sounds.

“You hear gunshots, fighting, group fights, gang fights,” said 14-year-old Patricia Petties.

Trying to prevent that kind of violence is why more than 1,000 students, in the 6th through 8th grades, were invited to the peace summit to talk about the reality of gangs and guns. Some of the speakers were former gang members themselves.

Asked how they can counter the appeal that many kids see in gang life, CeaseFire member Roger Cadena, a former gang member, said, “The gang life it’s a lie. They paint a pretty picture of a fantasy world that you have everything, but they have no idea what the consequences are.”

That’s why organizers did their best to bring kids face to face with those consequences by sharing their stories.

Cadena said the group tries to explain to kids how gangs can ruin their lives.

“A lot of it is through our experiences of being incarcerated, being shot, being stabbed,” he said.

They also shared the stories of mothers who have lost their children to violence.

“Just seeing the parents up there talk about their children, just seeing how it hurts other people,” Petties said. “If they see that, maybe they’ll stop doing the violence and killing people. Kids stop killing kids.”

For those who needed even more of reality check, there was a display of a coffin with a mirror inside. For many it was a wakeup call.

“If you mess around with gangs, that’s where you’ll probably end up, or you’ll end up with those guys in jail,” said 13-year-old Andre Needham.

“That really hit me because my sister used to be in a gang and when I look in a mirror, I could have went that path if it wasn’t for my sister getting out,” said 14-year-old Joshua Gonzalez.

CeaseFire Illinois is currently in the process of organizing eight more peace summits. They said they will continue to focus their efforts and resources on communities where there is high crime and heavy gang activity.

  • G-man

    let me get this straight.
    you have uneducated kids who don’t like school and join neighborhood gangs to hang out and listen to music because the hood if filled with gangs anyway.
    so, to fix this you take 1000 kids out of school so they can hang out, listen to music and have you tell them gangs are bad.
    now the kids are in party mode for 4 days instead of 3. and with the fact that nothing is being done to get rid of the gangs, you have one fun weekend ahead.
    i think these kids all know too well about gangs. why don’t you try something novel, like educating them about English, history, math, science, social studies and real knowledge.
    what you did by pulling them from school is feed stupid to the stupid.

    • Right

      Because that would be too much like school.

  • Romah

    Get all the guns from kids so they will not kill each other.

    • NIZZER

      Romah, that’s your answer?????????????

  • fo-tay

    Law abiding residents of Illinois should be allowed to carry concealed so they can defend their families from knucklehead gang bangers.

  • Willah

    Take all the kids to camping trips, Smokey Mountains and the Calilfornia desert so they can see something different. That way they will not kill each other.
    Concealed weapons are for adults.. but where in the world are the kids getting their weapons to hurt themselves or others?

  • BgirlMystify

    Just judge the event if you were not present. A lot of underprivileged youth who are bombarded with the WRONG message received valuable information to occupying their time unlike other higher sociological groups who already have the means to occupy themselves with after school activities their neighborhood taxes can provide. I was one of the breakdancers performing to bring about a true light of hiphop that is not publicized proving people can solve disputes through battling. Get your facts straight please and thank you.


    The Middle-East does this don’t they, works real well too. LOL

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