If you read headlines about Chicago this summer, you know that over July 4th Weekend, 82 people were shot, 14 fatally. This has been a very difficult year for many of us; as Dr. Cornel West has observed, “We are in the midst of a cultural crisis where people are ill-equipped to deal with typical human emotions – sadness, despair, rage – in acceptable and humane ways.”

Peace First CEO Eric Dawson was in Chicago this summer speaking to a group of 150 local high school students when he tested Peace First’s theory of how we can improve the world around us:

As I stood in the front of the room, I asked, “How many of you have been personally affected by gun violence in Chicago?”
Every hand was raised.

I asked, “How many of you have ideas on how to solve these problems?”
Almost every hand stayed raised.

I asked, “How many of you have had an adult ask you about your ideas to solve these problems?”
Only about 20% of the hands stayed raised.

I asked, “How many of you have had an adult offer you money for your ideas?”
Not one hand was raised.

Our young people have solutions. They are ready for the Challenge. We just need to give them the space and support.