Chance the Rapper continues to inspire his fans, and not just with his music. The Grammy-winning artist announced in early March that he was donating $1 million to public schools in his hometown of Chicago following major funding and budget cuts. The donation is aimed to give students the opportunity to reach their fullest academic potential and use more creative outlets in a place where violence is extremely high. Now, three students from the city's Lake View High School, Alex Rojas, Alondra Cerros, and Annelisse Betancourt, have written an open letter in Billboard thanking the star for his unwavering support.
"Your donation has really given us a push to get to where we need to be and possibly motivate others to give back to the community as well," they explained. "This is only one of the many things that you have done to improve our Chicago." Not only did they add that his act of kindness helped inspire other celebrities like Derrick Rose to donate, but they also made a point to tell him that they take notice to all the other little things he does in the community. "All of the free concerts you host and all the time you spend here in the city really show you care. We look up to you because the fame usually takes humility away from artists, but it hasn't changed you."
And it isn't just his music that inspires them - it's his way of living. "There are many big celebrities from Chicago, but you are one of the few that really give back. It is evident that you sincerely care for the youth here. This is why you are an inspiration to us. We appreciate you for not only representing us through your music, but also through your actions." In a city where "a person is shot every 2 hours and 48 minutes and a person is murdered every 14 hours and 27 minutes," they thanked him for using his platform to stop gun violence for 42 hours almost three years ago.
"You're more than just an artist to us, you are a way of life," they added. "There are so many stereotypes and restrictions we have as teenagers due to the frequent violence and crimes. Your music puts some at ease because we know that someone cares and someone has experienced these daily struggles too. You and your music have taught us that you can be true to yourself and still be successful, still be self-made."
Read the students' full open letter on Billboard.