Mikva Challenge (via Huffington Post) | January 31, 2011


Shawn Shaw watches his back now on his walk to and from Tilden Career Community Academy, the massive South Side high school that backs onto a Norfolk Southern rail depot in Chicago’s New City neighborhood. The 18-year-old student got jumped on this walk once by a handful of gang members — now, it’s hard for him to feel safe.

And he wants the city’s next mayor to hear about it.

“My issue for the new mayor to focus on in the first 100 days is unsafe communities,” he says in a recorded video message for whoever wins the contentious mayoral race. “This so-called ‘code of silence’ we have is killing off our youth, and we’re the innocent ones getting hurt.”

Shawn is one of hundreds of city high schoolers — from schools rich and poor, in neighborhoods affluent and afflicted — that have sent messages to the future mayor advocating for an issue that matters to them. Public safety, after-school programs, jobs, education reform, and sexual health have all proven popular subjects.