Shanya Salton

“I want to be independent from student loans. I am currently getting a bachelor’s degree in nursing. It is $8,000 per semester, and it’s a trimester school, so it’s $24,000 a year. I’m currently about $58,000 in debt. It’s going to be nice [to have the degree], but I have to pay back the student loans.”

Nakita Brown

“I’d like to declare independence from crime in the city of Chicago. I just want us to have a safe and enjoyable summer, and [to] have an opportunity for the kids to have a good time this summer and not worry about violence and crime. If we could have at least one day, I would be grateful for that.”

Nakia Oldham

“I would like to declare independence from this extra weight and that things improve for me all around.”

Erica Shelton

“I’d like to be independent from anger because I find that I get worked up really quickly, and I feel like it is more rage. So I would really like to be independent from anger. I want to start with controlling it, and then eventually, gradually get rid of it.”

Sherman Gant

“I’d like to declare independence from a lot of negative things, to just be positive. I would like to declare independence from this violence and gangs. Not to say that I’m involved, but I definitely want to see them go away and for more of our community and our parents to get involved with our youths and our children today.”

Carolyn Flowers

“I would like to be independent from the violence that’s plaguing our community. I think the community has had enough. We are losing too many of our young people, our teens, and then our seniors are being plagued with the break-ins and having to be locked in and not having anyone there to really look after them the way the community should. So that’s what I’m declaring, that we end the violence within our community and within our children because they are our babies.”

Jonathan Sanders

“I’d like to declare independence from the threat of government cuts to provide more benefits to the community. I understand they are trying to get rid of a lot of them, like social security and all that. We need government assistance because that’s what most people live off. I just want to encourage the government to provide more assistance for us.”