"I'm For Peace! Are You?" campaign is a way for students to share their messages of peace and hope, and to empower young people to reclaim their communities and city from violence, said Katie Diffay, a social worker at Perspectives.
So far, more than $12,000 in pledges have been made toward a $35,000 goal. The campaign ends June 10.
The film has attracted some high-profile supporters: New Chapter Entertainment, a video production company founded by two former producers with the Oprah Winfrey Show, is helping out. Perspectives alum Anthony Davis, who plays for the New Orleans Pelicans, also tweeted his support.
Razia Hutchins, a 17-year-old Perspectives junior and Auburn Gresham resident, said she helped organize the project because violence is taking a toll on youths.
"By living in Auburn Gresham, I am affected by violence every day," said Hutchins, who attends Perspectives' South Loop campus. "But crime is everywhere, not just on the South Side. It is on the East Side, West Side, North Side and Downtown."
One reason the violence continues in Chicago, she said, is "because people don't speak up. That's why people do what they do."
The Kickstarter pitches say the film will "chronicle our dedication and commitment to peace. Instead of accepting the violence that surrounds us every day, we have committed ourselves to changing our neighborhoods, lives, and the expectations of what we can accomplish.
"We are capturing student testimonials and real life stories about how the streets of Chicago have affected our lives personally and what we can do to make a change."
Students will hold an anti-violence rally from 5-6 p.m. Thursday at Perspectives' Auburn Gresham campus at 8131 S. May St. Hutchins said she plans to be there.
On June 5 at 9:30 a.m., more than 2,000 Perspectives students are expected to participate in a peace march beginning at the corner of 22nd and State streets and ending at Perspectives' Bronzeville campus at 3663 S. Wabash Ave.
Filming for the project has already started; the peace march will be included in the documentary.
Hutchins will be joined at the Thursday rally by Perspectives seventh-graders Armaria Broyles, Courtney Jones and Wylencia Boyd, who all attend the Auburn Gresham campus.
Broyles, who lives in the Altgeld Gardens public housing complex on the Far South Side, got involved in the project because she did not want to be scared anymore as she travels to and from school.
"Every day you don't know what's going to happen to you. It's better to let people hear our voices and let people know how we feel," said Broyles, who previously lived in Englewood. "Sometimes I don't know if I am going to make it home alive because you just don't know what to expect once you're outside. A bullet does not have a name on it."
Jones, a South Shore resident, said she got involved because she is tired of all the negative images shown daily on TV news about youths.
But the only way change is going to come about among youths is to get involved, contends Boyd, who travels to Perspectives by public transportation from her home in south suburban Calumet City.
A few months ago while on her way to school Boyd recalled a morning shooting that took place in the 8200 block of South Halsted Street where she gets off the bus.
"We heard a big crash and we didn't know what it was until we got off the bus and saw that the police had the streets blocked off," Boyd said. "Once we got off the bus we started walking fast because we were worried."
And Jones said while she has never been a victim of crime, one of her friends was once robbed at gunpoint.
Students said they are hopeful that enough money would be raised to allow them to produce a documentary.
"It is important for us [youths] to feel safe. We know there's going to be a little violence but you don't want it happening all the time," Broyles said.
One goal Jones said she has for the documentary is to drive the message that violence is never the answer to anything.
"When you shoot somebody, even if you don't kill them, you are still taking a life for a life," explained Jones. "You might in up end jail and that person would be wounded if they are not six feet under."
The recent murder of Endia Martin, 14, is an example Boyd said of senseless youth violence.
"The fact that this girl lost her life over some boy, who was probably not her boyfriend, makes no sense what so ever," she said.
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