Marching for Peace

July 10, 2017
A participant in the Casa Romero peace march

“We want peace! We want peace!”

This was the chant of the children and youth of the Casa Romero afterschool program as they made their way through the Back of the Yards neighborhood of Chicago for their recent peace march.

The march made several stops—including local schools and a community garden—and at each stop, youth from Casa Romero took turns sharing their thoughts about a different topic of concern for the community. One stop was at a nearby park, where a class of seven- and eight-year-olds from Casa Romero shared their hopes and dreams for the future of a neighborhood plagued by street violence.

One child shared, “I want the shooting to stop so I can play at the playground. I want everybody to get along!”

At other stops, kids spoke about their concerns related to the threat that local schools may be closed, the lack of funding for youth programs, and the recently stepped-up immigration enforcement that has cast a pall over a community where a majority of families have immigrant roots. Throughout the march, parents and adult mentors from Casa Romero encouraged students to take responsibility for the future of their community.

It was clear the peace march was teaching them to do exactly that. The young people were proud to be doing something positive for their community, and being involved was affirmation that they each have a voice and can contribute to bettering the world around them. The enthusiastic response from the neighbors they passed on the march helped reinforce that they were definitely being heard.

Events like this peace march are one of many ways Casa Romero builds confidence in the young people it serves, gives them hope, and prepares them to be future leaders looking to meet the needs of the community in a way only they can. Consider making a donation to Casa Romero to ensure they can continue this vital work in a neighborhood where budget cuts for youth programs, even in the face of rising violence, have made what this program does more important than ever.

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