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Teen march honors Civil Rights tradition

In the turbulent ’60s, young people were at the forefront of the civil rights movement.

Despite the life-threatening situations they faced, they raised their voices because their future depended upon it.

Today, more than 2,000 youngsters enrolled at Perspectives Charter Schools will be following in that tradition when they participate in a student-led “I Am For Peace” march.

The march will bring together students from five campuses, along with business, faith, and community leaders. It begins at 9:30 a.m., kicking off at 22nd & State, and ends at 10:45 a.m. at 36th & Wabash.

“For the people who are causing the violence to be outside when we are marching, that has to have an influence,” said Razia Hutchins, 17, one of the organizers. Hutchins is going into her senior year at the Perspectives Charter school located at 19th and Archer.

“We want to stop losing our friends to senseless violence. We want to stop having to look over our shoulders everywhere we go, or have our parents say we can’t go to an event because someone just got shot. It’s ridiculous.”

The idea for a mass rally came to her last year after 16-year-old Tyrone Lawson was killed outside Chicago State University. Lawson was shot in the parking lot after a basketball game between Simeon and Morgan Park High School. Two adult brothers were later charged with the fatal shooting.

“We talked about it in my Disciplined Life class, and my peers’ perspective was shocking. They were terrified, but they asked: ‘What do you expect in Chicago?’ ” Hutchins said.

Besides spearheading the march, Perspective students are working with two independent filmmakers to produce a documentary about the school’s education strategy: “The 26 Principles of a Disciplined Life.”

Many Perspective students claim the “principles” helped steer them away from trouble.”