Ke’Shon Newman’s National School Walkout Day Speech & Reflection
My name is Ke’Shon Newman. I’m here today from Chicago, Illinois. I’m 15-years-old and attend Perspectives Charter Schools. I’m also a part of the B.R.A.V.E. Youth Leaders at St. Sabina, a group of leaders fighting to stop and raise awareness of the gun violence in our communities and to create a safe environment for our kids and families, no matter where they live.
Being a part of B.R.A.V.E. brought me here today to tell my story firsthand. Just about 2 years ago, on May 2, 2016, my older step-brother, Randall Young, was shot and killed in this senseless gun violence, not too far from our home. He was being a normal teenager. On that day, he was walking his girlfriend to the bus stop, when he was caught in a random gun shootout, which resulted in him losing his life. He was a loving brother and friend to all. He was our protector. Now his life has ended due to senseless gun violence.
Randall isn’t another statistic. His life mattered, just like the lives lost in Parkland, Sandy Hook, Las Vegas and so many others around the country. But in Chicago, it’s important for all of you to know, the gun violence has become a tragic way of life. This shouldn’t be the normal way of living. No, we don’t have random mass shootings. We have daily shootings, which lead us to pray every day for our safety to and from school and for our neighborhood.
I want everyone here to know the reality of Chicago. Since January 1st, 466 people have been shot and 88 of those 466 were killed.
This is why I’m here, because we must stop letting this become the normal in Chicago. In this moment, the youth voice is rising across the country and especially in Chicago.
Our voices are LOUD. Our voices are CLEAR. And, our voice are about to change HISTORY.
Hi, my name is Ke’Shon Newman and my trip to Washington, D.C. was a great experience that allowed me do many new things I thought I would never do at my age. For example, I flew on an airplane for the first time and was able to stay at the same hotel as the students from Parkland, Florida, which was a really cool experience for us to get to know one another and bond over what unites us. I was so grateful to get to see the wonderful structures and historic sites at the Capitol.
On Friday, I participated in the student press conference and news interviews. In the process of doing all of those things, I met some great people and made wonderful friends. That night I had the opportunity to attend the “Stay Loud” concert that the Gabby Giffords’ foundation provided for students who traveled to Washington, D.C. The concert was amazing and made us even more excited to march.
On Saturday, the day of the march, I had an amazing opportunity to meet with Amy Low and Arne Duncan. The march was such an inspiring day. I saw powerful youth speak and watched outstanding performances. I was encouraged to see so many of my fellow students all stand together to take a stand against gun violence.
One of the memories I will always keep with me is when two smaller children asked to interview me for their school paper. These kids could not have been older than 12-years-old, but were incredibly professional and focused. I was so honored to be interviewed by them. All of us, no matter how young, want change.
The day moved so quickly, and before I knew it, I was back in home. The overall trip was outstanding and made me more hopeful for a safer Chicago.
Perspectives Charter Schools