CHICAGO (AP) — Students from more than 15 schools in the Chicago area staged a walkout on Tuesday, urging the City Council to pass a resolution in support of a ceasefire in Gaza. Holding signs that read “CPS Kids 4 Ceasefire” and “Stop Killing Kids Like Us,” the students led chants at City Hall, where they gathered for an hour-long sit-in, demanding action from the City Council.
The proposed resolution, set to be voted on Wednesday, calls for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict, which has sparked division among City Council members. In October, the City Council passed a resolution in support of Israel following a deadly attack by Hamas. The protest saw a strong police presence, with more than 30 police officers blocking access to the City Council chambers as students created a vocal demonstration in the building’s lobby.
Students from various schools coordinated to march to City Hall from their respective schools, including Lincoln Park High School, Jones College Prep, Walter Payton College Prep, Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center, Kenwood Academy, Curie Metropolitan High School, and Lane Tech College Prep. At the protest, a Palestinian student highlighted the emotional toll of the conflict on Chicago students with ties to the region.
In an emotional gathering, students expressed their concern for the situation in Palestine, with one student speaking about the impact of graphic videos seen online. The protests reflect the younger generation’s interest in being involved in civic life, as they call for an end to violence and a resolution to the ongoing conflict.
Chicago Public Schools CEO Pedro Martinez assured parents through an email that his office had informed school principals about protocols and procedures to ensure the safety of students exercising their First Amendment rights. The district is committed to providing an environment where all individuals are treated with dignity and respect.
The protests, organized by students, aim to add pressure to City Council members, urging them to vote in favor of a ceasefire in Gaza. Mayor Brandon Johnson also called for a ceasefire in the war, showing support for the efforts of the protesting students.
As the conflict in Gaza continues, it is apparent that the younger generation is demanding a voice in the issues that affect them. The protests are a powerful reflection of their commitment to being involved in the political process. These students are sending a strong message to city leaders and to the world about the urgency of finding a resolution to the ongoing violence. The protests are not only a show of support for the people of Palestine but also a call for peace and compassion in global conflicts.