On March 24, 2018, three Chicago Public School students took a bus downtown to attend the March For Our Lives rally. It was one of hundreds of nationwide events that were organized and led by remarkable young activists following the Parkland tragedy in 2018.
I attended the rally that day to support the fight against gun violence. As an independent documentary photographer, I took the photo on the left. This image, Frontline, is now on view in a major exhibition at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.
Although thousands attended the rally that day in Chicago, I managed to find the three students whose faces fill the photograph! I knew I wanted to bring them to Washington, DC to see themselves on the wall of this esteemed Smithsonian museum, just two rooms away from the portrait of President Obama. Working closely with their school, we are currently planning a Spring 2020 trip to the National Portrait Gallery and to other sights in our nation's capital.
None of the students have been to Washington, DC! One student expressed that it would be an incredible honor to travel there to see himself in the museum and another related that it had always been her dream to go to DC. One young woman shared how she lost a close family member to gun violence just a few months before the rally. She went out to march that day, thinking of him and other young people we have lost. All the students felt it was time to stand up for this cause.
We want our young people to see that their strength and activism matters and that they have a place in the story of America. LLCoolJ took a look at this photograph on opening night and agreed that it was powerful to see their faces on the walls of the museum and hoped it could help change the narrative about young people in Chicago.
Please consider supporting this story of youth empowerment and donating to our students' trip. All funds will be used for a Spring 2020 weekend to Washington, DC for three students and three adults, to cover airfare, ground transportation, hotel rooms, meals, sightseeing, and of course, a special visit to the National Portrait Gallery. And remember that any amount is welcome and very much appreciated. Thank you!
View Frontline in the Smithsonian online exhibition here!
#chicago #chicagoyouth #empowerment #chicagopublicschools #mynpg #outwin2019
- Axelle Horstmann
- Marcketa Pope
- Laura Ruffner
- David Goldberg
- Paula Wolff