CHICAGO — There are 40 of them on a grassy lot in Englewood. Crosses for each shooting victim killed in Chicago since the first of the year.
They have a heart on them and the name and age of the victim as well as when they were killed. Some have a picture or messages from friends and family written on them.
Greg Zanis made the crosses. A retired carpenter from Aurora, he’s been making them for 20 years and bringing them to the scene of mass shootings, like Columbine High School and the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. He says Englewood is a fitting location for this year’s memorial because many shootings happen in the neighborhood.
Last year Zanis, made more than 700 crosses for those killed in the city. On New Year’s Eve, he marched with Fr. Micheal Pfleger and hundreds of others carrying the crosses down Michigan Ave. in a massive protest against gun violence. He says he will visit the lot monthly to add more crosses as the shooting tally increases.
Rickey Fields lost his son Christopher after he was struck by a stray bullet in the Back of the Yards neighborhood seven months ago. He came to see whether his son was among the crosses on the lot.
“I don’t want people to forget, I want them to remember all these innocent people and children, I want them to remember,” Fields said. “…this has got to stop.”
You can find the lot at 56th and Bishop in Englewood.