The talented Leo High School Choir, under the magical direction of La Donna Hill, is as fine a group of representatives as a school could have. Thus we were honored to take part in a Put Down the Guns, End the Violence rally at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church on Saturday, providing uplifting music to balance a hard, realistic discussion of Chicago’s most vexing and dangerous social problem.

Listening to Father Mike Pfleger from St. Sabina Parish and Father Dave Kelly from Precious Blood Ministries describe their work on the front lines of this battle, I found myself wondering if we’re doing enough at Leo to combat this scourge. But there was a tangible benefit to the choir’s presence at the event.

Both Fr. Pfleger and Fr. Kelly mentioned how the mindless acts of a relative handful of violent offenders have served to demonize an entire generation of young African-American males. As our singers mingled with mostly white, middle-­aged attendees after the program ended, they did a terrific job of negating that perception. Demonic? Nonsense. They’re wonderful kids, the best ambassadors we have. And Mrs. Hill is a gift from God.