NPR is my favorite radio station especially on longer drives. As I drove home from the airport on Monday I tuned into my favorite NPR program, This American Life. I subscribe to the podcast and found an older episode to listen to, Harper High School, Part One.The program is broadcasted in Chicago so the city is frequently a topic of discussion. This particular episode and the following episode, Harper High School, Part Two, tells the story of the high school's staff and students during the course of the school year. Harper is located on the South Side of the city in Engelwood and is plagued by gang violence. Last year 29 students were shot at and 8 were killed. This is not the Chicago I knew. This is a Chicago I barely heard about. Violence is so commonplace on the South Side that it is rarely mentioned on the evening news. If this were to take place in a suburban middle class high school it would be national news. This is an everyday reality for these students. It was an eye opening story for me and also one of those stories that leaves me confused and wondering where I even begin.
The links to both stories are below. I would also recommend subscribing to the Podcast through Itunes. After doing a quick internet search to find the links to the episodes, I found a follow up article sharing that Michelle Obama visited the high school on April 10th to further her campaign to end violence amongst the youth in Chicago.