17-year-old Montrell Truitt was there.
“When Derrion got killed, then that’s when it seemed like everyone wanted to realize that something serious was going on,” said Truitt.
It’s been two weeks since the beating death of honor student Derrion Albert was caught on videotape.
The most violent portions have been edited out.
Albert, who was an innocent bystander to teen gang violence, went to Fenger high school on Chicago’s south side. His death now a symbol in a city that has seen 40 students killed since January.
“These are acts of people who are powerless, trying to empower themselves in the only way that they could possible empower themselves,” said Dr John Marquez
The video caught the attention of the white house, and president Obama sent U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Education Secretary Arne Duncan to Chicago.
Holder says a recent department of justice survey shows a staggering 60 percent of children have witnessed some form of violence in the last year.
“We’re starving our nation from the very people who should be the very future of this great nation. It is in our own interest, in our self interest, in this nation’s self interest to make sure these young people are protected,” said Holder
But while a meeting was held with students, parents and community leaders, it wasn’t held in the neighborhood where the violence took place.
Instead it was held miles away, either at the luxury Four Seasons hotel or city hall,
and that drew criticism.
“They wanna meet about us, but without us,” said Phillip Jackson from the Black Star Project.
“Where we met wasn’t important. The point was to have a conversation and we had a great conversation,” said Arne Duncan.
Chicago public schools has now announced a 30 million dollar anti-violence campaign, putting more counselors and social workers in troubled schools.
Something these former Fenger students say is vital:
“The teenagers that’s our age right now, ain’t got nothing else to do, like ain’t no after school programs.”
“You go to school. In your parents’ mind that is the safest place that you can be sending your child to learn… not to get beat up.”
“It’s a lotta chaos basically.”