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Origins of the Schools Say Enough Sidewalk Challenge

August 13th, 2018 by jacqueline

Hundreds of schools across the nation have suffered horrific gun violence since Sandy Hook. 7K kids have been gunned down. More than 187K have been traumatized. Enough is ENOUGH.

Armed with nothing more than torn fabric and boxes of chalk, students staged a public art protest in Washington Square Park, aka Bughouse Square, ground zero to Chicago’s radical free speech movement. Over the course of a month, students from across Chicago came together to tie 7,000 pieces of orange fabric strips onto the fence to represent all the kids gunned down since Sandy Hook and 1,300 notes of hope to represent all the kids who died last year alone. When rain washed the hopes away, students returned with 1,300 more notes, plus orange flowers planted in bullet casings and clear plastic backpacks. For over a month, community members wrote and rewrote the nearly 300 school names — the sidewalk chalk protest stretched an entire city block.

But when a pro-gun organization petitioned to set up a counter-protest, instead of promoting still more free speech, the Washington Park Advisory Council voted to crush it. The morning of the scheduled Earth Day Spring Clean-up, a sympathetic council member woke before dawn to save our fabric.

That very day, community members reinstalled the project at CPS Nettelhorst Elementary in East Lakeview, instantly rewriting the nearly 300 school names.

Proof positive that the young people will win.

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Nettelhorst School | Nettelhorst Community Group | Rowman & Littlefield Publishing, Inc.