Chicago's top cop calls on students to help police make this summer a safe one

FOX 32 NEWS - As Chicago passes it's one thousandth shooting of 2017, there’s a cry for peace from some of its most vulnerable citizens.

High school students from all over the city gathered on the South Side Tuesday for a day-long peace summit.

Among those who met with the teens was Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson.

"The Chicago Police Department is only as strong as the faith you all have in it,” Johnson said.

Johnson was speaking to 170 high school students from throughout the Chicago area about a problem these kids are all too familiar with - violence.

"For us to be effective, we need you all to partner with us and we need to partner with you all,” Johnson said.

This first ever peace summit on the campus of IIT brought together students from far away as New Trier to meet in workshops, hear from speakers and give them a collective voice.

"We all came together at a youth summit so youth voices can be hard. Because as you know so many of them are losing their loved ones. Sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, friends. Every single day. But nobody listens to our youth,” said Pam Bosley of Violence Prevention Manager.

Indeed for many here today, gun violence has changed their lives. Armaria Broyles lost her brother last year, and Marion Funches' uncle died in a drive by shooting.

"From there I always wanted to stop that from happening to anybody else. I don't want anyone else to lose loved ones of their own,” said Funches.

"Make a choice. Choose wisely and think about others basically,” Broyles said.

Both Johnson and Father Michael Pfleger told students they can help prevent violence by using their influence over friends and family members headed down the wrong path.

"Leaders are created. Leaders are choice. Leaders are the ones who step up and say I'm gonna choose the direction of this and not be a follower,” Pfleger said.

"They don't realize that their voice is impactful. And they can steer one of their colleagues, one of their peers into going in the right direction,” Johnson said.

"The answer has to come from them. As adults we might feel like we have all the answers but honestly unless our youth come together and make a change, it's not gonna change,” said Sauda Porter of Perspectives Charter School.

Now this is not their last event before summer. The same students involved in today's peace summit will also be taking part in a peace march through the Auburn-Gresham neighborhood. That's scheduled for May 26th.

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