The Student Government Association at Harold Washington College sponsored a Stop The Violence forum today for students to participate in due to the escalation of shootings in the Chicago area. According Latonya Vargas, Vice President of the S.G.A., 247 people were wounded or shot in Chicago between May 26th, and September 1st (Memorial Day and Labor Day.) This was more than double the amount of U.S. military soldiers that were wounded or shot in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined.
Harold Washington College S.G.A. President Marina Uribe and Vice President Latonya Vargas
Harold Washington students voice their opinions on the root of this epidemic problem to providing some solutions on how to combat it as well. One female student said she witnessed an older woman get “beat down” on the C.T.A.’s 69th street Red Line stop because of the gangs hanging outside without any police being around.
Another student explained how young teenage males are influenced to the gang lifestyle due to the lack of vision for their own future. He shared how difficult it is for teens to value education when they step outside to see their peers driving a Benz with $10,000 rims.
After the morning session was over, HWC students signed a large white cloth hanging on the wall in memorial to friends and family lost from gun violence.
H.W.C. students sign a memorial cloth at the Stop the Violence Forum.
Stop The Violence message left on memorial cloth.
Student signed memorial cloth message.
H.W.C. student signs memorial cloth.
Map of the number of shootings between Memorial Day and Labor Day in Chicago.
For the second session that took place around 1:00 p.m., Chicago Police Detective, Rose Gordan shared her experience the Gang Specialist for the Chicago area. Detective Gordan grew up in the Robert Taylor homes. Her professional career started as a teacher for the Chicago Public Schools.
She first shared her story of her own son being a victim of gun violence. She’s grateful that he survived.
Detective Gordan during her presentation talked about a popular fashion statement among young men wearing their jeans low exposing their underwear. She then asked a woman from the audience to spell sagging. She did; S-A-G-G-I-N-G. She asked the same woman to now spell the word backwards leaving out the letter G; N-I-G-G-A-S.
After a short 15 minute documentary on Chicago gangs, Rose Gordan presented some of the weapons that young students are now using in the high school that cost less than $1.00. They included pipes found in the chemistry lab, bricks wrapped in sport socks, a padlock on a shoe string, rat-tail combs that are bought from the local dollar store, etching cream that contains hydrofluoric acid used to throw on a victim’s face that can potential blind them for life, and a golf club that left someone speechless for life.
Detective Gordan concluded her speech by telling us that their were over 100,000 gang members as young as eight years old in the gang database. In her thirty-three years as a teacher and a Chicago Police officer, she shared that not much has changed in the way of street violence; They were just getting younger.
Stop the Violence display at Harold Washington College.
Detective Rose Gordan giving presentation at the H.W.C. Stop The Violence Seminar.
Det. Gordan holds up the golf club that left a student speechless for life.
Det. Rose Gordan holds up a Rat-tail comb that students use as a weapon.
Rose Gordan holds up a pipe found in a high school chemistry lab that was used as a weapon.
Det. Rose Gordan holds up a replica gun that almost caused her to shoot a teenage student.
Det. Gordan holds up a notebook filled with grafitti created by a 10-year old mid-school student of Latin King parents.
Close up of Latin King notebook filled with gang language.