“War makes everyone mad and angry towards each other…we only live once, and we have to enjoy our life with peace, not war.”
11-year-old Katie Garcia, a 6th grader at the Academy for Global Citizenship wrote this article for a popular education blog about the Peace Parade we organized to celebrate the United Nations’ International Day of Peace.
The AGC community opted to host this parade in our neighborhood rather than joining the Peace Day celebrations downtown to focus on peace locally as well as globally. Residents came out to support the message; Katie reports: “we held up signs saying PEACE IS A PRIVILEGE and MORE PEACE, LESS VIOLENCE… drivers were beeping their horns to show that they supported the cause and others decided to join.” In addition to neighbors and parents, students and staff were joined by Chicago-based rapper K.W.O.E., who brought along his signature anti-violence flag.
Students chose messages of peace that were important to them, including calls to end war, gang violence, and acts of aggression based on race, gender, or sexual orientation.
Students walked a parade route near 47th Street and Cicero, ending at our 3rd-8th-grade building with a dance party and dedication of a new peace pole in our garden.
Katie and her peers hope to make this an annual tradition. Xiomara, 7th grade, says “hopefully next time we can walk farther where even more people can see us. Maybe, just maybe, people will realize ‘wow these kids want the violence to stop. Maybe we should listen to them.”
Peace is fundamental to our mission to develop mindful leaders who take action to positively impact their communities and the world. We are proud of how our students live this mission every day and grateful to Education Post for giving Katie a place to share her voice.
To learn from our work, plan a visit at www.agcchicago.org. To help students like Katie find the power in their voices, please consider supporting AGC with a monthly donation of any amount. Give today at www.agcchicago.org/donate.