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Chicago 5th Graders Denounce the ‘Chi-Raq’ Moniker Given to The City

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Chicago 5th Graders tell the media that they do not know Chicago.

Not the actual students

Reported by Nigel Boys

After the recent wave of violence to hit the streets of Chicago, and the media’s nickname for the city “Chi-raq,” a group of fifth-grade students wrote an essay, which was published in the Chicago Tribune as an op-ed, to set the record straight about the place they call home.

Although there have been over 1,200 reported shootings in the city this year alone, the students penned that just because the media comes to report these incidents and quickly leaves, they think they know the people of Chicago. They added, however, there are many good things in the city which are not reported by the media, such as the store clerk who gives free candy to children, while other children are happily at play jumping rope.

After the recent reports of six people who were shot in a local Laundromat in the South Shore area of the city, the students who all live in that area and attend Bradwell School of Excellence, wrote defending the area they live.

The 28 students, who penned their names to the op-Ed, wrote “Those who don’t know us think this is a poor neighborhood, with abandoned buildings everywhere, with wood covering the windows and broken doors.” They continued, “Those who don’t know us see the police on the corner and think that we’re all about violence and drugs. They see the candy wrappers and empty juice bottles and think that we don’t care.”

The essay continues stating that while others see children who have dropped out of school as a lost cause, God does not want the people of South Shore to burn because He sees them with a future. He sees them as people who want to go to college, as do those who know the people who live there.

The children write that if you take the time to listen and look at what is happening in the city, past the violence and the rage, you would hear the laughter of the children and see the smile on their faces. They continue that Chicago is not “Chi-raq,” as many would call it, but their home, which is filled with love.

In an interview with NPR, two of the students, Rondayle Sanders and Damiontaye Rodgers, discuss the difficulty they had in writing the op-ed, along with their teacher, Lindsey Rose.

Although Sanders said that she didn’t find it difficult to write, because she always tries to see the good in things, Rose admitted that the first part, about what they believe other people think about them, was easier than coming up with positive things about their city.