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Youth meet on violence

Planned, organized, and led by youth, the annual Little Village Youth Forum has evolved into a major gathering of activists and community organizations working to address the issue of violence in Chicago.

The third annual forum this Saturday will feature CPS chief Ron Huberman speaking along with a panel of young Chicagoans who have experienced and survived violence.

It takes place Saturday, March 27, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Saucedo Scholastic Academy, 2850 W. 24th Bvd.

Workshops will feature experts on topics ranging from brain development to the history of gangs; hip-hop and spoken word performers will give voice to community concerns; and a gallery will present visual art by people who have experienced violence, said Alhali Herrera, an organizer with Enlace Chicago.  The event also features a resource fair with programs available for young people and adults.

Huberman has been asked to tell students in the audience what CPS is doing about violence.  Organizers are hopeful he will offer increased support for community-based groups that are working directly with youth on preventing violence, Herrera said.

Two previous conferences have led to ongoing collaborations by community organizations across the city and an increase in youth leadership development, she said.  In Little Village, youth initative is behind Enlace Chicago’s violence prevention collaborative, a collective of 24 community organizations.  Enlace Chicago also provides after-school programming including arts and sports activities at four community schools in the neighborhood.

The youth forum is “a time for young people to shine as organizers of an event and to show the community, and their parents and teachers, that they have something important to say,” said Herrera.

“It gives young people a chance to say, we are here, we want to be involved, we want to be part of the solution, and we can contribute,” she said.

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Category: CPS, Little Village, violence, youth

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