For Immediate Release
CHICAGO, IL — May 23, 2022 – We are deeply saddened by the death of Seandell Holliday. He was a student just like us, and he should be alive today. So many young people in this city should be alive today, but are no longer with us due to gun violence. Our hearts go out to the Holliday family, and the Comer College Prep community.
As a result of the recent events and the response of our mayor, we, the KINETIC Youth, want to make our voices heard. We strongly disagree with the decision made by Mayor Lightfoot to impose a curfew on youth at Millenium park, and fear the implications that the increase of police activity will have, especially on Black and brown youth. Such a policy does not bring peace to many families. As Black and brown immigrant and refugee youth, we know too well how youth of color are treated by law enforcement in this city, and fail to see how this will keep us safe.
Restricting youth access to public areas isn’t a solution to the issue at hand. This ban is simply a way around truly addressing the root cause of the problem, and will inevitably target youth of color with increased police surveillance. Youth gathering in public spaces is not what causes gun violence.
Curfews can’t and won’t solve the problem of the lack of access to jobs, education, and money. Disinvestment in our communities is rooted in racist policies that continue to have significant impacts to this day. We need funding to be directed to low-income neighborhoods: into their classrooms, libraries, recreational centers, health centers, and more.
We need to see legitimate action taken to address gun violence in Chicago. We are proud to live in a sanctuary city, but it doesn’t feel much like a sanctuary when we, as Black and brown immigrant youth, feel unjustly targeted. Our communities deserve to be protected and invested in, from our schools, to our streets, to our public parks.
“I think mayors across the country, particularly in this time, we have a moment where we can really change for the good, the narrative around accountability and legitimacy and policing,” these are the words of Mayor Lightfoot addressing policing concerns after the death of George Floyd. We need these words to match her actions. We need to tax the rich and invest in affordable housing, living wage jobs, and violence prevention programs. Without opportunities to break from cycles of violence, the problem can only be bandaged, not healed. We deserve to be prioritized over the protection of property. Millennium park can be rebuilt, but death cannot be reversed.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago builds power through collective advocacy and organizing to achieve racial equity. Learn more at www.advancingjustice-chicago.org.