Two Hundred Freedom School Scholars Rally to Protect Children, Not Guns

July 11, 2013

Protect Children, Not Guns campaign | Watch a Star Tribune video on the event

See Pioneer Press photos from the event | Learn more about Freedom Schools

Nearly two hundred children from Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools rallied to promote CDF’s Protect Children, Not Guns campaign on July 10 on Broadway Avenue in Minneapolis. Many of the children wore white shirts, but 102 of them wore red shirts to represent the number of Minnesota children who have died from violent or accidental shootings in the past decade. Every 30 minutes in the United States a child or teen dies or is injured as a result of gun violence. 

After the rally, scholars did a “Harambee,” a compilation of songs and chants that starts the day at all Freedom Schools. Watch a short clip of the Harambee at the event. Special guests from MAD DADS of Minneapolis spoke about their experience with gun violence, including Catrice Champion whose son was shot and killed in 2007 down the street from where the event took place. State Senator Jeff Hayden also spoke and urged the scholars to continue being well-behaved and involved in their community.

Each summer, Freedom Schools across the country participate in a National Day of Social Action to empower young people to get involved in their communities and raise awareness around a particular social justice issue. This year the aim of National Day of Social Action was to raise awareness for CDF’s Protect Children, Not Guns campaign to promote common-sense gun safety measures that will save children’s lives. The event in Minneapolis was one of many held at the more than 200 Freedom Schools across the country as part of National Day of Social Action.

Inspired by the Freedom Summer of 1964, CDF Freedom Schools provide tuition-free summer and after-school enrichment that helps children fall in love with reading, increases their self-esteem, and generates more positive attitudes toward learning. Children are taught using a model that supports children and families around five essential components:

  • High quality academic enrichment
  • Parent and family involvement
  • Civic engagement and social action
  • Intergenerational servant leadership development
  • Nutrition and health and mental health 

In the Twin Cities, eight Freedom School sites serve more than 800 scholars ages five to 18. Nationally, CDF Freedom Schools served more than 11,500 children in 83 cities and 25 states (including Washington, D.C.) in 2012. 

See more news coverage of the event.

Download a fact sheet about the effect of gun violence on children.