Day 67: Notes for Peace & Purpose Over Pain

Christina Johnson, Roslyn Green, and Juan Olivares with vocals by Meagan McNeal

Chicago, IL, United States

The Peace Studio is proud to be partnering with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association’s Notes for Peace Project for this special 100 Offerings of Peace Musical Arts co-commission. The Notes for Peace project facilitates the creation of songs in support of those who have lost loved ones to gun violence in Chicago. The initiative was set up by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Negaunee Music Institute and Purpose Over Pain. This offering tells the story of Christina Johnson, the proud mother of Christopher Kyle Johnson. Christopher was her second to oldest son. He was twenty-two and a half years old when his life was unfortunately taken due to senseless gun violence, sitting in his car. Christina continues to be his voice and fight for justice for him.

“Forever Our Star” was written by Christina Johnson, Roslyn Green, and Juan Olivares with vocals by Meagan McNeal


Launched in 2017 in partnership with cellist Yo-Yo Ma, Notes for Peace engages Chicago parents who have lost children to gun violence and empowers them to write original songs of tribute. Each parent collaborates with fellows from the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and teaching artists from The Irene Taylor Trust (London, England) to compose the songs, which are later recorded at Chicago Recording Company, performed live in a showcase concert, and posted to the Notes for Peace website. Since the project began, over fifty original songs honoring precious lives lost have been created. Notes for Peace is a program of the Negaunee Music Institute at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Purpose Over Pain was formed in 2007 by several Chicago area mothers and fathers whose children were tragically taken by gun violence.  These parents initially came together to support each other, but soon recognized the need to honor the lives of their children by creating a positive impact to stop the senseless violence primarily experienced by and carried out by young people (ages 14-24).

Purpose Over Pain programs include:  Advocacy, Parent Support Days, Parent Bereavement Assistance, Safe Saturday Night 3-on-3 Basketball and Mentoring, as well as, addresses the community about the painful effects of gun violence by bringing awareness to common sense preventive solutions while providing a safe and enjoyable atmosphere for youth, parents and member of the community.

Additionally, Purpose Over Pain provides positive development activities for youth, advocate for and promote safe communities, and strengthen families by providing crisis support to parents/guardians whose children have been victims of gun violence.


After hearing Christina’s story, please consider donating to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association’s fundraiser in partnership with Strides for Peace – 2020 Race Against Gun Violence, which supports Purpose Over Pain.

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