Two Chicago 7th graders from opposite sides of the city write winning essays about similar fears

For a lot of young Chicagoans, living with violence is a way of life.

- It has become an unfortunate Monday routine in Chicago: tallying up the gun violence from the weekend.

The most recent report was a man shot in the chest and backside near 67th and Green.

Between Friday and Sunday, at least 25 people were shot and nine of them were killed.

The victims range from a 17-year-old boy shot to death on the West Side last night to a murder-suicide in the middle of the Kennedy Expressway.

So far this year, 231 people have been murdered in Chicago.

For a lot of young Chicagoans, living with violence is just a way of life.

FOX 32’s Elizabeth Matthews spoke with two 7th graders who live on the opposite sides of the city, but wrote winning essays about similar fears.

Two 7th graders, one from the South Side the other from the North Side, know that the violence in Chicago is growing and both agree that it's not fair they have to grow up in a world where it's dangerous to just go outside.

"...Violence has taken over our lives. I can't ride a single block without seeing a gang, or the corners filled. I want to live to a day where people walk through every part of Chicago feeling safe,” Serenity Buck said.

Buck, 13, lives in Englewood with her mom and little brother. Last summer, she witnessed a murder.

“It was like a sad experience because I heard someone get shot like right outside my house what if that was me or my brother,” Buck said.

She wrote about that experience in an essay at school, which is now one of two winning essays in a national contest.

"Violence is to a scar or scratch on earth. It's a scratch on earth's body...It bleeds and bleeds as violence proceeds and proceeds to get worse, and Earth has not yet put a Band-Aid over it. So the scar has not yet recovered,” Buck said.

She compares violence to a scar or a scratch.

“A scar is something bad something that hurts you don't want to get scars so it's like violence its something bad, something hurts and we don't want violence,” Buck said.

The 7th grader says she doesn't hear gunshots or see violence daily, but the fear is always there when she's walking around with her brother "Sincere." 

“I always watch my surroundings, I’m like Sincere hurry up, we are walking too slow, we have to get there,” Buck said.

Buck and Andrew Tran, who goes to a Catholic school in Arcadia Heights, were chosen as Chicago’s ambassadors in the "Do the Write Thing" challenge, which is an opportunity for kids to write about youth violence.

Andrew wrote a fictional story about violence but from a different perspective. 

“Not a lot of people explore the point of view of the attacker, they mostly explore the point of view of the victim,” Tran said.

They live in different worlds. She’s on the South side and he’s on the far North Side, but their fears are the same.

“If you hear a loud sound, the first thing you usually think is it's a gunshot,” Tran said.

“This is how I live, this is it so it's nothing, it’s not yeah I’m scared and sometimes it makes me angry, but this is it, I can't make everybody do right and I can’t make everybody do wrong, so I just have to live with this,” Buck added.

The two 7th graders get to go to Washington D.C. this summer, take one guest for free for a week and take in the sights of our nation’s capital.

Both teenagers say they are bringing their moms, but the rest of their families are tagging along too.

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