ROSELAND— Students from Fenger High School have a message for the city.
The narrative that Chicago is a city plagued with violence and is a war zone is something they want to change.
The young community leaders are a part of the Mikva Challenge Peace and Leadership Council, which aims to develop young people into informed and active citizens and community leaders.
In a short video the teens created, they discuss efforts to transform their school and build positive relationships with adults in their community. Using #ChangeTheStory they will spread the word through social media and encourage other Chicagoans to join in their efforts.
“We want to help others succeed,” one students says in the video. “We have the courage to stand up, speak up, instead of being a stereotype. That’s why we are here to change the story.”
“We want people to see the better side of Chicago,” another said. Six students also participated in the Build Chicago Black Table event last week. The city-wide event gave young people the opportunity to speak out about the violence in Chicago.
Fenger was featured in CNN's 2014 series, "Chicagoland," which chronicled the efforts of former principal Liz Dozier to turn things around at the school. The school's enrollment plummeted after 2009, when video of a mob beating death of Derrion Albert, a student at the school, drew national attention to the city's violence.
The school's 260 students are nearly all black and from low-income households.