Dear Chicago Youth: Stop Fighting The Wrong Fights!

I do my best to keep judgment to a minimum. 

[In fact, I've been judged for what I've said, written, and worn.]

But some things need to be addressed. 

Last week, students at Chicago's historic Paul Laurence Dunbar Vocational Career Academy--the alma mater of Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson-- used their youthful energy in the wrong way by fighting and causing havoc on their school's campus.  

Don't get me wrong; I was their age 15 years ago and fell short of perfection on my occasions.

However, I had a support system at home consisting of two old-fashioned parents who encouraged me to "get my sh*t together" because the world was not going to accept my excuses in lieu of rent. 




Those rowdy students at Dunbar don't realize that their REAL competition goes to school in the same neighborhood. Students at schools like De La Salle and The Young Women's Leadership Charter School are being prepared for lucrative careers and unlimited success. Meanwhile, kids who choose to fight and riot during instructional time are being prepared for lives of misery. 

I understand that "the system" is set up to fail minority youth. But I am a living witness that you CAN beat "the system." You have to stop celebrating ignorance and idolizing celebrities! TURN OFF THE DAMN TV! As my parents would tell me when I was younger: "Those celebrities already HAVE A JOB!"

Alternatives


One alternative is the Walgreens Expressions Challenge.  
The Walgreens Expressions Challenge is a creative contest which gives teens a chance to win $2,000 while expressing their views on issues such as self esteem, teen pregnancy, and STD prevention. 

The contest runs from October 1 to November 30 and is held annually. 

After November 30, there will still be opportunities for teens to engage in positive activities as well. 

Teens at Dunbar High School should partner with the PTA to have Family Fun Days at least one weekend a month. During the events, students can enjoy their school in a relaxed environment (with appropriate security) and enjoy surprise visits from notable alumni-- including Jennifer Hudson. 

The next video they should release is one showing the students celebrating a triumph instead of almost trampling each other in a silly fight.

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About Zack Raspberry

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