This book is free. By taking a copy, you agree to be a leader in the fight against youth violence in your own community, inspire others to take action and support groups that are battling youth violence in Chicago and across the country. For ideas about how to help—or where to get help—check out the resource guide on this website and in the book.


In 2011 and 2012, while more than 900 people were being murdered on the streets of Chicago, creative-writing students from DePaul University fanned out all over the city to interview people whose lives have been changed by the bloodshed. The result is How Long Will I Cry?: Voices of Youth Violence, an extraordinary and eye-opening work of oral history.

Told by real people in their own words, the stories in How Long Will I Cry? are at turns harrowing, heartbreaking and full of hope.

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The editors ask that you donate money—or your time—to organizations fighting youth violence in Chicago and across the country. Please let us know how you're making a difference. Then pass the book along to someone else (for free, of course), so that he or she can give. It adds up.

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It’s the power of what follows here, the frank and often profound reflections of those who have been there, of those who have lost. In their words, often philosophical and poetic, they move us to see what they see and to hear what they hear. They make us all feel less alone.
— Alex Kotlowitz, bestselling author of There Are No Children Here and co-producer of the award-winning film The Interrupters
Outstanding. ...An incredibly rich and compelling examination that deepens our understanding.
— Dawn Turner Trice, Chicago Tribune
A stunning, stay-with-you-forever new book [that will] alter the ways in which you think. I guarantee that after you read this book, the next murder that screams across the headlines and television news will affect you more deeply than ever before. … How Long Will I Cry?: Voices of Youth Violence now joins my Best Books I’ve Ever Read list.
— Rick Kogan, WGN radio host, from a review in Printer's Row

What people are saying about the theatrical Version of How Long Will I Cry?  produced at the Steppenwolf Theatre in 2013.

Intense. ...Aims to raise the consciousness of Chicagoans of all stripes.
The Chicago Tribune
Thought-provoking and powerful.
The Daily Herald
True stories that put sharply drawn faces to the catastrophe that’s overtaken whole city neighborhoods.
The Chicago Reader
The Windy City Times
Tales of heartbreak, irony and tragedy.
The Detroit Free Press
Puts the audience in the heat of Chicago’s youth violence.
Honest and affecting.
Time Out Chicago
May be the most important play of the year.
The Chicagoist