There was an outpouring of grief and an impassioned call to action Saturday night as Chicagoans gathered to mourn the victims of the Connecticut school shooting.
Standing in a cold drizzle while hot tears streamed down their faces, several dozen people gathered in Union Park for a candlelight vigil in memory of the lives shattered by gun violence– in Newtown, in Chicago and around the country.
Chicago resident Lydia Gonzalez said “That’s every parent’s worst nightmare. I can’t even start to imagine what they’re going through, but i feel their pain because we here in Chicago, we know this all too well. We lose our kids every day.”
Congressman Bobby Rush told the crowd he was saddened and ashamed.
“It seems that like the only bipartisan agreement that exists in dc, is the bipartisan agreement to let guns flow through America like running water.”
Outrage echoed by a series of speakers:
Reverend Jesse Jackson said “It’s NIU one day, it’s Aurora, it’s Columbine. When will we learn?
Father Michael Pfleger also spoke of the violence “We talk about the fiscal cliff. We are already over the violence cliff in America.”
Mayor Rahm Emanuel was at the vigil and said “It’s time for congress to have a vote of conscience .”
The only solution — they say– is tighter gun laws. And the only way to get them, turning grief into action. These mothers who lost children to gun violence agree.
They say pain is a daily reality. They feel connected to the parents of Newtown.
Pamela Hester-Jones, the mother of a gun violence victim said “My heart goes out to all of the parents. We know your pain. We feel your pain. We feel your loss and we love you.”
It was just days ago, an appeals court struck down Illinois’ ban on carrying concealed weapons. So far, the National Rifle Association has had no comment on calls for more gun restrictions, in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting.