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West Side Teen An Agent For Change And Peace

By Justin Breen | May 24, 2017 5:29am | Updated on May 25, 2017 11:43am
 De'Andra Hannsberry is an 18-year-old DRW College Prep senior heading to Washington University in St. Louis.
De'Andra Hannsberry is an 18-year-old DRW College Prep senior heading to Washington University in St. Louis.
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CHICAGO — De'Andra Hannsberry has big plans.

The senior at DRW College Prep in North Lawndale in the fall is heading to prestigious Washington University in St. Louis on a full scholarship.

But before the future biochemistry major heads to one of the country's top universities, she wants to impact the West Side by helping lead the DRW College Prep Peace March. The event, which will include all 500 students at the school, runs from noon-2 p.m. Friday. It will begin at the school, 931 S. Homan Ave., and finish at Leo Roscoe Boler Park, 3601 W. Arthington St.

The march will recognize those lost to and affected by gun violence.

"I believe that the peace march shows North Lawndale that there are youth who are actively working toward making our community a more safe and productive environment," said Hannsberry, 18.

Before living in North Lawndale, Hannsberry lived in Indiana, suburban Waukegan and Louisiana. She clearly remembers living in Indiana, where she had the freedom and ability to spend time outside.

Living in Chicago, she said, entails being afraid to venture outside, but Hannsberry is helping to lead the march to spread a sense of security on the West Side.

Hannsberry last school year visited Washington University on a recruitment weekend and immediately fell in love with the campus. In the fall, she accepted the Eliot Scholarship, which covers full tuition plus room and board.

The DRW Westside Peace March started as an idea from the school's peer mediators, who wanted to show the community the school was invested in decreasing neighborhood violence. In addition to all the students, the school's teaching staff, political leaders and groups like the Homan Square Foundation will participate.

"The peace march shows that there are teenagers in North Lawndale that aren't satisfied with the level of violence in the community and are trying to make a difference," Hannsberry said. "We live in a world where people of our color and our age are automatically viewed as violent and dangerous. This peace march is a step towards erasing that stereotype."

For more updates on the march, click here.