Lessons

News Bite 3: Too Young to Die

screen_shot_2014-12-04_at_4.48.51_pm.png

Image by Carlos Javier Ortiz.

lg.01.jpg

The pain of losing children to gun violence has transformed parents into activists. Some of them marched in April on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. Image by Carlos Javier Ortiz. Chicago, 2013.

lg.02.jpg

Budget troubles have forced some Chicago schools to close, said photographer Carlos Javier Ortiz, contributing to neighborhood strife. Image by Carlos Javier Ortiz. Chicago, 2013.

lg.03.jpg

Amira, the niece of gunshot victim Ondelee Perteet, enjoys some loving attention from her grandmother. Image by Carlos Javier Ortiz. Chicago, 2013.

lg.04.jpg

A double-exposed photo shows the Rev. Jesse Jackson at a news conference about the shooting death of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton. Image by Carlos Javier Ortiz. Chicago, 2013.

lg.05.jpg

An X-ray of a young gunshot victim in Chicago reveals damage from three bullets. His arm was shattered but he survived. Image by Carlos Javier Ortiz. Chicago, 2013.

lg.06.jpg

Members of the Martin Luther King College Prep marching band relax in Chicago's Hyde Park after performing at a Fourth of July parade. Image by Carlos Javier Ortiz. Chicago, 2011.

lg.07.jpg

Perteet's sister helps him dress for school. Perteet was paralyzed in 2009 and has been able to walk again with the help of crutches. Image by Carlos Javier Ortiz. Chicago, 2013.

lg.08.jpg

Construction cranes tear down remnants of the Harold Ickes Homes public housing project on Chicago's South Side. Image by Carlos Javier Ortiz. Chicago, 2013.

lg.09.jpg

A Mother's Day demonstration brings out devastated parents who've lost their children to gun violence. Image by Carlos Javier Ortiz. Chicago, 2013.

lg.10.too_.young_.jpg

D'Vante King plays a song he produced with friends at Kids Off the Block community center in Chicago's Roseland neighborhood. Image by Carlos Javier Ortiz. Chicago, 2013.

lg.11.jpg

A St. Sabina Church flyer in Chicago offers a cash reward for information leading to the arrest of Robert Munn's killer. Image by Carlos Javier Ortiz. Chicago, 2013.

lg.12.jpg

St. Sabina Church members gather to pray following a neighborhood peace march. Image by Carlos Javier Ortiz. Chicago, 2013.

lg.13.jpg

Brian Anderson, who lost an arm and both legs in the Iraq War, helps repair Ondelee Perteet's wheelchair. Image by Carlos Javier Ortiz. Chicago, 2013.

lg.14.jpg

Perteet's family has worked to help him walk again after he was paralyzed at the age of 14 when he was shot in the jaw at a birthday party. Image by Carlos Javier Ortiz. Chicago, 2013.

lg.15.jpg

A young man displays a bullet wound he suffered while walking down a Chicago street. Ortiz says the man didn't know who shot him, or why. Image by Carlos Javier Ortiz. Chicago, 2013.

lg.16.jpg

Members of Chicago's St. Sabina Church place a wooden cross near the spot where a young man was murdered. Image by Carlos Javier Ortiz. Chicago, 2013.

lg.17.jpg

Three years after he was shot and paralyzed, Perteet brought a date to his high school prom. Doctors feared he would never walk again. Image by Carlos Javier Ortiz. Chicago, 2013.

Pulitzer Center grantee Carlos Javier Ortiz grew up in Chicago and was so affected by the young people dying around him, he decided to document the death toll. In his seven-year project, "Too Young to Die," Ortiz explores the obvious and covert synergies between vulnerable people who are often victims and perpetrators of violence. His project also examines the causes and consequences of violence in America’s third largest city and the surprising similarities between violence here and in the developing world. In both settings, poverty, lack of education, poor employment prospects, and easy access to guns fuel the violence.

"The topic of youth violence is a complicated issue that has been ignored for far too long until recently,” Ortiz says. “My mission is simple: I hope that people can look at the pictures and empathize with the situation presented in front of them. The photographs are a learning tool for all of us. I believe that we cannot be in real peace until everybody lives in a peaceful environment."

–Text drawn from blog published on Pulitzer Center website May 27, 2015:

Educator Notes: 

In this lesson, we'll take a look at a short film trailer and a photograph by Carlos Javier Ortiz around the issue of gun violence in Chicago. 

The photo is here (it can also be found in the slideshow above).

Caption: Three years after he was shot and paralyzed, Ondelee Perteet brought a date to his high school prom. Doctors feared he would never walk again. Image by Carlos Javier Ortiz. Chicago, 2013. 

Lesson Builder Survey