While most high school students spend their summer break at the beach or hanging out with friends at their favorite spots, four former Kenwood Academy High School Academic Center (KAC) students are spending their time promoting peace and positive change.
Maxine Wint, a soon to be junior at Kenwood Academy High School, 5015 S. Blackstone Ave., and three of her friends organized one of the biggest peaceful protests Chicago has seen.
On Monday, July 11, over 500 people participated in a sit-in protest in Millennium Park, followed by a march that shut down Michigan Avenue and State Street with over 1,000 peaceful protestors.
Wint and her friends organized the event in just three days in response to the killings of Philando Castile in St. Paul, Minn., and Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, La., by police officers.
“We aren’t anti-police…we are anti-racism,” said Eva Lewis, an incoming senior at Walter Payton College Prep.
Wint and Lewis, along with their friends Sophia Bryd and Natalie Braye who all attended KAC together, organized the protest in just three short days. They had help from the Chicago Teacher’s Union that donated megaphones for the sit-in, Black Youth Project 100 and countless people who donated food and water for the protestors.
Their biggest success was not only bringing together a diverse group of people—young and old…Black and white—but also the fact that there were no arrests during the sit-in or the march.
“I think we succeeded overall because of the relationship we had with the police,” Lewis said. “They said they were willing to shut down State and Michigan for us. It was respectful communication on both ends.”
Since last week’s protest, Lewis and Wint have seen the effects of their efforts. Lewis was asked to write a column for Teen Vogue about her experience and the girls have been approached by news outlets nationwide.
“It goes to show that youth can do big things like this,” Wint said. “It’s not impossible if you have faith that you can do it.”
Lewis said that their efforts have inspired others to take action instead of sitting on the sidelines of an issue.
“People are reaching out, mostly young people, who are willing to do things with us,” Lewis said. “It’s humbling to hear so many people come to you and tell you that what you’re doing is helping.”
The girls said they are already planning their next move to foster more change. They said people can keep up to date on future events they hold via their twitter at @BLMChiYouth.
[Via: Hyde Park Herald]