Chicago Fifth-Graders Pen Powerful Op-Ed Piece: ‘You Don’t Really Know Us’

08.05.14 4 years ago 19 Comments


Linsey Rose had seen enough. Better yet, her fifth-grade students at Chicago’s Bradwell School of Excellence in South Shore had seen enough. Not even old enough to experience a PG-13 movie by themselves, they’re well aware of the stigma haunting their city.

“70 shot over the weekend in Chicago”

“Eight killed in deadly spree of attacks in Chicago”

Chicago this. Chicago that. Aside from Derrick Rose’s return, the Bears chances in the NFC North and a handful of other stories, the brunt of the attention Chicago receives on a national scale is relegated to its very public and documented crime rate. Again, though, Rose’s students grew weary of being portrayed as blood thirsty parasites and walking target practice objects. The news cameras that come to their neighborhoods whenever negativity spreads masquerading itself as news ratings had pushed their last button.

So they wrote an op-ed. A powerful one, at that.

The piece appeared in the Chicago Tribune and has since became a beacon of strength in what’s publicized in one of America’s most uncontrollable war zones.

We want you to know us. We aren’t afraid. We know that man on the corner. He works at the store and gives us free Lemonheads. Those girls jumping rope are Precious, Aniya and Nivia. The people in the suits are people not going to funerals, but to church. That little, creepy dog is Saianis, Lamaur’s dog. We are the kids who find crates so we can shoot hoops. When the sun shines here, it’s not God saying he wants to burn us; he sees us all with bright futures. Those who know us look at the ones who want to go to college, not the ones who dropped out of school. If you listen, you’ll hear the laughter and the chattering from the group of girls on the corner who are best friends and really care about each other. Do you see the smile on the cashier’s face when the kids walk in? Why? Because this neighborhood is filled with love. This isn’t Chi-raq. This is home. This is us.

“When the sun shines here, it’s not God saying he wants to burn us; he sees us all with bright futures.”

Man, what?

For a moment there, I thought our favorite little Chi-Town homie/activist, Asean Johnson, was behind this. Good to know the little soldier’s got coalition of young bright minds riding shotgun with him.

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